Discipleship Tag Archive

One of my favorite prayers in the Psalms says this:

So even to old age and gray hairs,
O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come. (Psalm 71:18)

The Psalmist is aware of the fatigue that old age brings, so he prays for the strength to mentor and disciple the next generation. This kind of intergenerational discipleship is assumed throughout the Bible (Deuteronomy 32:7, Psalm 78:4-6, 1 Timothy 5:1-2, Titus 2:1-6, etc.). These relationships between older and younger members of Christ’s body are a reflection of the kind of unity which God has won for us in Christ (Acts 2:42-47, 1 Corinthians 12:12ff).

I have a special burden for intergenerational relationships and discipleship in the Church, not only because it has made such an impact on my life but also because I believe it is a biblical model that is often neglected in our churches. While there’s nothing wrong with affinity groups (where we explicitly gather with other saints from common demographics), we are missing out on necessary growth and sanctification when these groups are the only Christian relationships we have.

Over the years I’ve tried to pay attention to the latest in intergenerational research, whether that is in the broader culture or in the church explicitly (sadly, the former often impacts the latter much more than the latter impacts the former). I was delighted when I learned that David Kinnaman (with his friend Mark Matlock) at the Barna Research Group put out a new work for us to learn from. Faith for Exiles: 5 Ways for a New Generation to Follow Jesus in Digital Babylon has some really insightful research and applications for ministry today. In particular, this new research sheds light on how intergenerational relationships not only need to be a priority in our churches, but it also shows us how these relationships might need to adapt for the challenges of this new age. Continue Reading

One area of life Christians can overlook is sound principles and wisdom for leadership. This is often a subject that we leave to the “business experts.” We can even start to think that using leadership strategies means we are no longer trusting the Holy Spirit. But this attitude toward leadership betrays other primary Christian beliefs.

If we believe that the Bible gives us wisdom for every area of life, then it is our duty to understand and apply all of this wisdom in our lives.

If every Christian is called to help creation flourish (Genesis 1:28), to make disciples (Matthew 18:18-20), and to become equipped to help the whole Church grow (Ephesians 4:11-16), then every Christian is called to lead.

The Bible has much to say about leadership – what it is, how we ought to lead, and how to develop more leaders. Acts 6:1-7 is one such passage with leadership wisdom for us to study and apply. This text is not only where we see the office of deacons instituted in the early church, but it also lays out at least four other important biblical principles for leadership. Continue Reading