Tell of His Mighty Acts!

“One generation tells your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. (Psalm 145:4)” was the provocation from Dave Holden.

As I listened, I imagined a world where church was truly intergenerational. Where church was family. I imagined a youth group that was not just led by a twenty something year old, one life step ahead, but instead was a whole church effort. Where older men and women of God shared their stories of God’s faithfulness, provision, and goodness with the young people of their church. Could this help build stronger disciples who dive deeper into the Word and develop a more robust relationship with Jesus?

I know from my own personal experience that I have thrived in my walk with God when someone at church has played a “spiritual grandparent” role in my life. A lady called Terri has taken me under her wing, as she has done with countless younger folk here at Kings Eastbourne, and she will consistently tell me off, encourage me and spur me on in my walk with Jesus. Not only has Terri spurred me on, she also (pre pandemic) joined our youth outreach team. This meant that every week Terri would come and sell tuck to the tougher kids of Eastbourne. She was there for the 15-year-old girl who had been through a fight with her dad, she was there for the drunk girl that I (rightly so) wouldn’t let in. Week after week the young people flocked towards her, as her wisdom, compassion and relatability poured out. This was highlighted when she gave her testimony to over seventy 11-14s, who sat silently (which never happens) as she spoke about her life. I remember one 14-year-old girl on a cigarette break commenting after Terri had prayed for her that she had “never felt so loved”!

Dave was addressing all the New Ground youth leaders, gathered together from a variety of churches across the New Ground family for the Engage event in April. So, as I looked across the Zoom screens and saw the many young faces (not unlike myself) staring back at me, it caused me to think. If we are all about releasing & equipping youth leaders, both paid and volunteers, to raise leaders who can change communities, have we missed something? We live in a world where fresh and new is best, where we prefer potential and aesthetics over depth and experience. So how are we doing at “one generation telling mighty acts to another”? Are we failing to pass on the benefits of wisdom and life experience to our young people?

I say all this knowing that I am a 29-year-old guy leading a youth team who are mainly in their late teens and 20s, having consistently “banged the drum” for more 20s to be involved in youth work. But what if I’ve missed something?

As the leaders of New Ground Youth, Jeevs and I long to release and equip youth workers of all ages. In Eastbourne we are planning regular catch ups for mutual encouragement and to tell “war stories”, as well as a Summer weekend away in August and a youth leaders’ gathering in early 2022. But the Engage event made me think maybe the best way to see a generation raised and released is by asking the whole church to share their stories and experiences, rather than a small cross section that best relates. Everyone in the Church has a role to play in telling the next generation, but how?

I realise that there will be two different types of people reading this blog, those who are involved in youth work or open to it and those who have ruled themselves out or feel past it. My question to you is, has this provoked in you a desire for multi-generational mission? What does it look like for you to play your part in raising our young people? Perhaps you could link in with your church’s youth leader and join the team, or ask to mentor a young person one to one. Perhaps you could seek apprentices in the area of church life you are involved in, teaching young people to lead worship or operate the PA equipment. Perhaps you could commit to pray for an individual member of the youth group, or a group of young people. Perhaps there is a young person in your church that you could spend time with over a mutual hobby or interest. Let’s connect with the next generation and tell them about what God has done.