6 CRITICAL Lessons We MUST Learn from the Last Generation of Believers… if We Really Want To Please God in This Generation

Young AdultsIf there is one sentiment that Young Adult Believers (all over the world) feel about the “church”, it’s that they feel a bit frustrated by the way the previous generation does things…relates with people….preaches…interprets Christ, runs the church and just about everything they do.
We want to create fun environments and have awesome events with great sound, cool speakers, snacks, with loads of noise, energy and fun. Oh..and yea…can’t forget…the flyer has to be on point.

Here is the thing though….WE MIGHT BE IN DANGER because of that…
We have to be VERY careful. As a Young Adult myself I often see, experience and understand the frustration but Solomon said it best in Ecclesiastes 1:9:

“…There is nothing new under the sun”.

In fact, let them tell you their story and you’ll find out that most of them were even MORE frustrated by their parent’s generation than we are with them.

That got me thinking a bit and I started to pay attention. I think the Holy Spirit was rebuking me a bit and wanting to help me stay objective so that while the frustrations are there, I won’t lose the opportunity to learn what I need to learn from them. The old time religion may not understand bright lights, the need for a new sound system or how to relate with people who are not on the same level of faith as they are but they do know how to do some important things (Things that I perceive God actually cares about) REALLY well.

Despite the occasional frustration, here are some ABSOLUTELY IMPORTANT lessons we NEED to learn and remember from the previous generation of believers:

1) Thank you, Lord.
Yup. Thanks it. Spend more than 10 minutes with one of them and you will hear it over and over. “Thank you, lord”. Crediting God for EVERY LITTLE THING. They sat down without falling, they enjoyed a cool swoosh of the evening breeze, tell them you aced your test, they took a 3-minute ride in the car, sun is shining…rain is falling….they wake up from a nap…EVERY LITTLE THING. Every 5 min you’ll hear it. “Thank you, Lord”.

They have hard wired into their vocabulary…into their conversation, the ability to give thanks to God for everything.

Look around you. When was the last time you said those words to your friends as you came out of the restaurant, the movies…after lunch…after drinking a cup of water? Does giving thanks to God roll off your tongue with ease?

If not, bright lights, a great band, the best preaching won’t help you.

Psalm 34:1 says “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth.” They have mastered how to do that.

In essence, they have mastered the process of worshiping God constantly. ” Have you?

2) The combination of brain and spirit.
In our generation, we have been blessed with more explanation of things. (As a mentor of mine likes to put it, “More LIGHT”. So we have a better understanding of let’s say… precipitation and the process by which snow falls. What happens is that we somehow unconsciously think or assume that God is not really involved or that his creative power is not at work. It’s like the more explanation we have about HOW things happen, the more we take God for granted in those things.

Not the past generations of believers. When the snow is falling, they still look up and stand amazed at the creative power of God and the way he makes it snow in New York while its Tropical in Florida.
For them, the more explanation they get about how things happen, the more amazed they are about God.
A mother delivers a baby and we talk about how lucky we are to have had great equipment and good nurses. They talk about how great God is.

They have a combination of Brain and Spirit. We seem to have a separation of Brain and Spirit

We have to remind ourselves that just because we have the creative ability to make things or explain things does not mean that God is less relevant. We need to remind ourselves that us being able to figure things out to dominate the earth…to make it conducive for us as humans, is not evidence that he is not seriously at work.

It simply confirms that we are doing exactly what he created us to do..and that is to be creative like him, to figure things out on this earth, and to worship him in and with those things we create.

3) Prolonged reading of the Bible… without a guide 
Admit it. When was the last time you just felt like reading, and picked up the Bible just simply for the sake of reading it for a prolonged amount of time…with no guide. No app, no Bible study guide…no online worksheet, no sermon to follow along with, NOT at morning devotion or during service?

Not them. I admire this soooo much. How they just pick up the Bible…and just read it.
Now of course I know we struggle a lot more with issues of time and seem to juggle a lot more today…but the facts still remain…we don’t know how to just randomly pick up that book and just read it.

You know….it’ll be a lot harder for false prophets to harm our hearts if we just know how to go to the source.

4) The memorization of the word.
Don’t worry…we are all in the same boat here. It’s crazy. It’s like technology makes us smarter “collectively” but dumber “individually”

How many phone numbers do you remember off the top of your head?

I am reminded …when I hear them pray…when I hear them preach…when I hear them speak and so on, about their ability not just to read the word but to store up the word …to commit it to memory.

In our generation, we can instantly find 25 versions of a scripture. We can carry the scripture ON us in 2-3 devices at all times…we have the scripture in abundance everywhere except IN our minds where it really matters the most.

5) Where 2 or 3 are gathered…
We need a good ambiance…good lighting…great sound systems…good temperature…and a sick …I mean SICK band to get us excited about worshiping God. They seem to be able to do it just fine with 2 or 3 people and some tambourines.

(((Now hold up…if you are a pastor watching this right now…you better not be telling your Young Adults the reason you’re not doing all those things is because Tobi said its ok not to do them!)))

Seriously though…they get it. They have a literal interpretation of what the Bible says, that God can visit 2 or 3 people…without the lights, the band or any of that.

6) The Church is a Family
They understood what it meant to be a “Church Family”. I’m not talking about your small groups or the occasional text to someone who didn’t make it to church, or your family night where people get together and have fun together at a gala or at the park…no.

When I was growing up, I remember my mom (even though we didn’t have much) would occasionally cook a meal on Sunday morning to take to church for a specific family…JUST BECAUSE. And I remember sometimes we would come home with cooked food from a someone else who just made us food for no reason.

When people didn’t come to church, they didn’t just go home after service, they went visiting. Someone in the hospital, someone at home…they didn’t just text, they showed up.

When couples had issues, other couples showed up.

They didn’t have much…but they shared. They fundamentally understood when it meant to belong to each other and to belong to Christ

They fundamentally understood when it meant to belong to each other and to belong to Christ

We NEED these lessons. We need this mindset. We need it so that our worship of God doesn’t hinge on the Air Conditioning, the band or the instrumentalist or vocalist solo but on our ability to create an environment with our hearts where God can be.

Yes…they are stuck in their ways…they don’t understand us…they don’t appreciate our creative ideas….they don’t know how to create fun & exciting worship environments…but worship is not always meant to be fun for you and they certainly don’t have problems with these behaviors above.

Something tells me that God is still working out the kinks with them but he is seriously pleased with them in these areas.

If we are going to make it to heaven…if we are going to survive these times we are in with our faith in God intact, we MUST learn from them.

When it’s our turn, what will God be pleased with us for? What excellent example will be able to leave for future generations?