The next generation must be released to build houses of their own.
By Larry Kreider
“We don’t like having young stallions in our churches. They seem to cause us too many problems,” said Rick Joyner. “But only young stallions can reproduce. Resist the temptation to “fix” them!”
Only dysfunctional parents would keep their children at home in order to build their own house, when their children are ready to marry and build a house of their own. Many of the younger generation today are crying to get out of traditional church. They are no longer satisfied with the structure in which they have grown and lived. They must be released to build their own churches and reproduce!
They Want the Blessings
A group of 18 to 35-year-olds shared: “We like our churches and our pastors, but our present churches are not something we want to give our lives for. We lead small groups, youth groups and serve in the church, but we don’t want to do this our whole lives. God is calling us to something new—new kinds of small groups, new kinds of churches. We are not even sure what they will look like, but we want the opportunity to try. Our hearts are not rebellious. We want the blessing of the leaders of our churches. We respect and honor them. But we want to build our own house. There are things the Lord has placed inside of us that we desire to see become reality. It is good to have a room in our father’s house, but we have a desire from the Lord to build a new house with new rooms.”
I understood completely. I remembered how I felt when I was in my twenties and the Lord called me to start a new church—a new wineskin. However, new wineskins eventually get old and my generation of stallions are now the parents. We find that God has placed the same burden in the younger generation to birth new wineskins, but they have a different vision for a different vision for a different era and a different generation. They come into the kingdom of God looking for the reality of the cross—not the building or structure of the church as we have known it. They want relationships—not programs.
I once traveled to Hawaii for a leadership training session. (Hey, someone had to do it!) My friend Norman pastors a small group-based church in Pearl City which he also planted. This church plant has reached over 400 young people with the gospel within two years, and seventy young people have given their lives to Christ in within a few weeks of my visit. I wanted to experience this ministry for myself, so Norman agreed to take me to a youth meeting.
We jumped into Norman’s station wagon and headed for the local school where the meeting was held. The first thing I noticed was the huge bouncers standing outside the doors—a little intimidating. “One of the kids pulled a knife on someone a few weeks ago,” Norman explained matter-of-factly. “These guys have black belts in karate.” Okay—very intimidating. They didn’t need black belts or any belt for that matter. Just looking at them would make anyone think twice before causing any trouble.
We heard the young people inside singing with all their hearts. For an instant, I had a flashback of the Jesus Movement from the late ‘60s. Inside the school, only the stage lights were on. Young people were scattered all over the room, worshipping the Lord with their arms outstretched. They meant business with God!
After worship, everyone sat down and the lights flicked on. Kent, the youth pastor, grabbed the microphone and called the names of young people who recently gave their lives to Christ. He handed out baptism certificates one at a time to these dozens of new Christians, and the room was filled with clapping and cheering from their peers.
“Everyone needs to be in a power huddle,” Kent charged the group of new believers. “It is a place where you can get to know other kids. There are people to help you out when you have a problem or a question about your life with God.” At that time the new believers who committed to the newest power huddle came forward, and others were invited to join them.
After the meeting, Norman explained the truth they recently learned. “We are touching 225 young people, mostly from unsaved homes. We have found that these kids need relationships. So we started power huddles—small groups for young people. We have found that the young people in power huddles are growing in God, while the young people that are not getting involved are having a hard time.”
As a spiritual parent, Norman opened his heart to me on the way to the airport: “I’ve already explained to the church that I told Kent he can plant a new church with these young people whenever he believes the time is right. I had to verbalize this, or else I might revert to keeping Kent here in order to help me build this church.”
Norman learned the value of reaching the next generation and trusting them to reproduce themselves. There is a whole new generation of small group leaders, pastors and church planters among us. They are enthusiastic and even unconventional. Though we as parents may not always understand, we must always encourage them to dream big and allow God to use us to help them fulfill those dreams.
We must commission them to establish their power huddles and new churches, but within God’s timing! While we should be careful not to send them out before they are ready, we also dare not hold them back. May God give us the grace and wisdom to empower these young stallions. In time, we also will rejoice when they reproduce.
About Larry Kreider
Larry has spent the past four decades training leaders to make disciples with the small group concept. Larry serves as the international director of DOVE International, a worldwide network of over 1,000 churches in 26 nations. Larry has written more than 40 books and travels extensively teaching and imparting practical discipleship to leaders globally. Read about Larry or catch up on Larry’s blog.