Do you ever feel like you’re worshipping God on the deck of the Titanic?
While we’re ultimately heaven-bound and on the winning team, what about the ship on which we’re currently sailing? Is it going down? Is it enough to just have faith that our ship won’t capsize---despite some alarming downward trends? Will current victories get swallowed up in a cold sea of systemic failure?
The Church in most areas of the world is thriving, both spiritually and numerically.
But we’ve witnessed the Church of Europe sink, with only its cathedral towers now jutting above the surface. Is a 21st century model of that proud and headstrong ship, with Americans on board, beginning to collide with another iceberg? If so, can God help re-direct our course?
Sinking on the Promises of God
We love standing on God’s promises, at least those mentioning future blessing. But what about promises with negative outcomes, those foretelling curses and destruction? Not so much.
As the Titanic sank, the ship’s band continued to play hymns. Are we in concert with those humble, dedicated and competent band members, determined to hit all the right notes and soothe the passengers? Are we as well serving on a ship destined to sink to the ocean floor?
The last verse of the Old Testament (Malachi 4:6 NIV) promises that the land will be struck with total destruction if we neglect two critical turns of the heart. One turn is older-to-younger and the other younger-to-older. Both turns require that we move beyond our own generation.
1) Parents turning to their children---AND---2) children turning to their parents.
And it's not just deadbeat dads and prodigal sons needing a turn of the heart. While some need to rotate 180 degrees, there's room for all of us to continue pivoting.
When YES! Young Enough to Serve was birthed seven years ago, we noticed how so many American churches operate in models where only older adults seem to care about older adults. Youth ministry leaders were at the same time seeing the folly of peer-only relationships in youth groups.
Is the American Church short on: Resources? Generosity? Buildings? Worldwide outreach? Responses to social injustice? Generational specialization? We don’t think so.
Do we pour boatloads of resources into children and youth ministry and a comparative thimble into ministry at the older end of the age spectrum? Perhaps so.
But comparing investment buckets can lead us down a path of envy, losing sight of the bigger picture. It’s like the Titanic band director comparing his need for a trombone with how much the kitchen spent on fine china. Meanwhile the ship is sinking, and there’s a shortage of lifeboats.
Which brings us to the purpose of this post. Generational investment buckets aside, we need to focus more intentionally on the love and concern flowing between generations. If churches and nations ignore this dynamic, the message is clear . . . the land will be cursed.
YES! provides leadership nationally---modeling and teaching collaboration between generations:
Collaborating with younger generations
YES! helps churches and ministries
commission adults over fifty
to serve & make disciples.
When generations collaborate, great things are possible (and sustainable!).
If generations remain insulated and indifferent toward each other, we’re back on the deck of the Titanic. The music may be playing, but the ship is going down. God keeps His promises.
Honestly the ocean of need is huge, and the YES! ripple is small but growing. We need to multiply our team, intervene earlier, strengthen training resources and reach captains at the helm. We can’t just settle for more soothing hymns on the deck.
As Christians we are called to love, serve and multiply both inside and outside our peer group. For too long we’ve invested heavily in generational division---with unintended consequences.