Over the past couple months, we have had several guest speakers come to the church. All of them are fathers in the faith. 1 of them was my actual father, and the other was my father in law.
All of them, in their own way, reminded me of the importance of fathers in the Church. When I say “fathers” I mean it in a broader sense than simple someone who has children.
I mean it in a way that describes a man that is older, wiser, and has walked with God for a long time.
Many Fathers, But Not Many Fathering
I think there are many fathers in the Body of Christ, but not many of them are fathering. Not many of them are engaged, plugged in, and active in the nurturing of those that are younger in age and in their stage in life and in their walk with Jesus.
As we have had these men come minister at our church over the last couple months, the impact has been tangible.
I think that’s because there is a weight and an impact that comes when someone who has lived life, with all it’s ups and downs, tells you that it’s going to be ok. You’ re going to make it. Don’t give up. Press into God. Follow Jesus. He will never leave you or forsake you. Hang in there.
That means more coming from someone who has been down the road a while.
Divided by Generations
It seems to me that the Body of Christ is pretty divided along generational lines. That comes for a variety of factors. One is that when you’ve live a long time, you get set in what you like and don’t like. Your opinions about things get solidified over time. If you aren’t careful, this can make you unwilling to embrace new ideas and new directions and new expressions of old ideas.
But the Holy Spirit is always doing new things. He’s always pushing the Church forward into new territory. So, it doesn’t have to be that the older generations have to be behind the curve. They have to be willing to stay in step with what the Spirit is doing right now, not what He was doing yesterday.
On the other side, youth tends to bring with it a disdain for how things were done yesterday. Young people tend to think that the reinvented wheel is better than the wheel we already have. They think new is better, old is stale. It’s an equal, but opposite error from what the older generations tends to do.
Now put those two groups of people in one church and it’s no wonder they don’t ever mix!
What has to happen is the young bucks need to learn humility and an appreciation for what has already been established in the Church. And the older bucks need to embrace a continual desire for adventure and staying in step with what the Spirit is doing NOW.
Out to Pasture?
The voice of the older generation of Christians is absolutely vital in the Church at large, but more often than not these older people in the faith are getting the message that they are obsolete. They feel as if the new models have come along, and the old ones are being discarded.
Those of us who are younger need to own that somewhat. Too often in our youthful zeal, we ignore the wealth of wisdom and strength that is right in front of us. We don’t realize that we aren’t really doing anything that new and different. This road has already been travelled, and we ignore those that have travelled ahead at our own peril.
At the same time, I also believe that the Fathers need to father even when they aren’t exactly invited. I’m not saying force your way into someone’s life where you aren’t wanted. What I mean is, make them outright say no to you. When you see a young man, or a couple, or whatever, that you know you could help – then go do it. Offer it. Don’t assume that because they aren’t asking, they don’t want it.
I had one of these fathers recently tell me, “You should ask me what I think about this. Go ahead. Ask.” So I asked. He told me.
We don’t know what we don’t know. We don’t even know to ask sometimes. So tell us to ask. Part of being a Father is teaching the sons how to be sons, and the daughters how to be daughters.
We Need You
So I just want to say to everyone that is at all older than me, or farther along the road than me, we need you. We need your life, we need your voice, we need you. Please don’t give up on us, please don’t stop butting in, please don’t ever retire from your post in the Body of Christ.