Friday, August 17, 2012

Pastoring the Next Generation

Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come.  Psalm 71:18

Thanks, Glenn Stewart, and thanks, Marion Robbins, for modeling to us all the power of intergenerational ministry.  Last Sunday, the PCC body heard that for the summer you opened your home to two college students and exemplified so vividly a Christ-like spirit of generosity and servitude.

Somehow, whether you knew it or not, a generation of Christ-followers is coming into adulthood having grown up in a culture where most parents did all they could to pamper them and remove, as much as possible, pain and consequences. They are coming to us in vast numbers, having grown up in a church that was largely consumer driven and left out God’s bigger story of world redemption. Even those coming from churched parents too often come from parents who largely didn’t match their walk with their talk.

Madeline Levine, a psychologist in Marin, summed it up well in her best-selling book, The Price of Privilege: “America’s newly identified at-risk group is preteens and teens from affluent, well-educated families. In spite of their economic and social advantages, they experience among the highest rates of depression, substance abuse, anxiety disorders, somatic complaints and unhappiness of any group of children in this country.” Levine examined the role of materialism, parental pressure to perform and the emptiness of “retail therapy” and summarized that we have created a generation of kids who lack purpose and direction beyond their immediate personal needs.

However, it is also true that this generation who believes in and follows Jesus is passionate, world-minded, but in desperate need of spiritual fathers, grandmothers, mothers and grandfathers.  Beyond opening your home, Glenn and Marion, you opened your heart, your schedule and spent time with them, fed them, poured into them.  What I am sure you enjoyed so much and thought meant so little to these two college students, ended being the highlight of their summer, and the highlight of service for me.

When these two college students shared that their highlight was not just the hours of ministry training, the hours of ministry experience and the many hours of awesome fellowship with other college-aged students from around the world, their highlight was time with you in your home in your family room, dining room, etc., seeing your faith and learning of your walk with Jesus, I couldn’t have been more grateful for you two.
You did more than just open your homes, you molded two lives!  Who would of thought?  Glenn Stewart, Marion Robbins – college pastors!  God not only thought of it, He ordained it and called you both to it.  Thank you for heeding the call and giving of yourselves to them.  Thanks for giving others and me who call PCC home a vivid picture of the power of intergenerational ministry.

Ever heard the term “mountaintop experience”?  We will learn this weekend the origin of that term from Luke 9 as Jesus and His crew come down from the mount of transfiguration into the mess of humanity.  It is going to be such a great day.  I’ll look forward to being with you on Sunday.

I love being your pastor!