Youth workers. . . tomorrow you’ll be spending concentrated time with your students. It’s what I think is the greatest job in the world! And as you navigate the difficult and complicated waters of doing youth ministry, you will be prayerfully working to lead kids into life-giving truth while leading them out of the barren and deadly wilderness of cultural lies.
One of the long-standing and quietly destructive lies undermining community is the lie that “my generation is better than any other generation. . . before me or behind me.” I fell into that when I was navigating my own adolescent years (in many ways it was the mantra of the rebellious 60’s and 70’s), and truth be told, it’s been an easy one to fall into as I’ve gotten older.
Recently, the “Ok, Boomer” phrase and cultural trend has served as evidence that this divisive and arrogant cancer continues to be passed from generation to generation. There are many reasons why I find the “Ok, Boomer” and “Ok, any previous generation” attitude absolutely frightening when it finds its way into the church.
One of those reasons. . . It’s a form of spiritual suicide as it can shut off the pipeline of life-giving wisdom that runs through history, and it destroys the multi-generational back-and-forth functioning of the Body of Christ. I was reminded of this by these words from Hebrews 13:7. . . “Remember your leaders who taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and follow the example of their faith.”
For me personally, a quick inventory reveals that my most trusted, treasured, and influentially wise leaders are mostly from prior generations. This is why I so much value those who have gone before me. . . some still living and many long-dead. . . some from generations hundreds of years ago. . . who God has used and continues to use to shape me.
We must pray that we won’t fall easy prey to the trap of generationalism.
So youth workers. . . when you’re with your students tomorrow, encourage them to look around at the sea of “old people” who have gathered in the same building. Encourage interaction, not just to be nice, but to learn. And encourage those “old people” to value and interact with those young people, not just to be nice, but to learn.
A house divided against itself will collapse. The enemy is already working hard enough to make that happen from the outside. We cannot and should not be offering any assistance to that end from the inside.