Editorial

A “New” Generation

By

“Let the word go forth from this time and place that the the torch has been passed to a new generation . . .” Nearly 50 years ago, these words from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address inspired young people to become involved in a variety of programs that were going to have a deep impact on the world, among them the space program and the Peace Corps.

Yet, as inspiring as Kennedy’s words were, there was a problem many enthusiasts overlooked: the statement tends to marginalize anyone who is not from the “new generation.” The “passing of the torch” implied that the future belonged only to the youth; the “old folks” merely had to stand back (i.e., get out of the way) and watch as the “new” generation fixed the problems of the past.

As Christians, we have a different perspective; the beauty of God’s Kingdom is that, because He has no grandchildren, all believers are of the same generation, regardless of our biological or spiritual age. When a person receives Christ he or she is born into that new generation called the family of God. Each one of us has received the torch of the gospel, which we are to pass to those we meet in our daily life, at home, at school or at work. We are called to “‘make disciples of all nations’” (Matt. 28:19), and that means that everyone who follows Christ is to play some role in fulfilling the Great Commission.

In this issue of Alliance Life, you will read about a gathering of “20 somethings” that crossed the artificial boundary of generation, resulting in changed lives and renewed hearts. In January, Quito ’08 brought together people from many cultural communities to focus on the love God has for the world and His radical plan to give everlasting life to those who believe in the Name of Jesus (John 3:16). Like many other college-age Christians, most of the younger participants were looking for an affirmation—a call—that might help them to discover the course for their lives. And the older participants—the “chaperones“—may have been hoping to see a spark in their sons or daughters that would remind them of their own commitment to serve, made long ago.

The Spirit of God often moves in unexpected ways. Jesus told a Pharisee, “‘The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit’” (John 3:8). When the Holy Spirit came to Quito, wonderful things happened: a young woman discovered God and committed her life Christ; a pastor from Wyoming reaffirmed his vision for worldwide missions—and so did his adult son; an MK returned to his roots by the river and discovered that the sorrow of loss many years ago has divinely shaped who he is today.

Lost people matter to God. I heard a sermon recently in which the preacher gently admonished the members of the congregation to listen to what the Holy Spirit was telling them to say to another person and to not be afraid to share their faith. Because a woman was unafraid to invite an atheist on a missions trip, God revealed Himself to a young woman who doubted His existence. Because a group of relief workers, missionaries and students are persistent in caring for children being raised in a dump, these little ones are receiving Light to tread a path already strewn with more rocks and debris than most of us see in a lifetime. Because an Alliance pastor gave a Bible to a stranger, a family has come to Christ and a new desire for ministry is being born.

More than 100 years ago, one pastor recognized the need to gather like-minded people into an organization that would provide resources and training to men and women who were called to take the gospel around the world. Today, The Christian and Missionary Alliance is more than a missionary—sending organization. With tens of thousands of churches in the United States and around the world, it has become a denomination that cares about sharing the gospel and living it out as well. Whether we make our home in South America or northern California, whether we are 22 or 82, God has called this generation—His only generation—to pass the torch around the world.

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