And all that generation also were gathered to their fathers. And there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done for Israel. - Judges 2:10
There is a crisis point in every spiritual movement, whether it’s a local congregation, a national church body, or a para-church organization like a missionary agency, Bible School or college. It happens to a nation or a family, too. The crisis often comes in the third generation.
The first generation experiences a movement of God’s Holy Spirit. Many come to salvation and they start a church, or a mission, or a school.
The second generation grows up under the influence of their parents’ spiritual life and walk with God and they are profoundly affected, seeing God at work. They inherit the institutions founded by the first generation and concentrate on running them well.
The third generation often grows up without having seen the change wrought by the conversion of their grandparents and fails to understand the reason for their parents’ odd behavior, so different from that of their peers. They don’t know the Lord themselves and didn’t experience the spiritual life that moved their grandparents to launch the great works that they did.
The parents, that second generation, often forget to teach their children to know the Lord. They themselves learned it just by being in the presence of the grandparents and sort of soaked it up, and they tend to think their own kids will do the same.
And so it happens just as it did in Israel after Joshua and all his generation had died off. “There arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord or the work that he had done.”
Unless that next generation experiences its own movement of the Holy Spirit bringing many to conviction of sin and a personal experience of salvation, the fire dies out. The purpose of the institutions started by the grandparents is lost. The institutions themselves are often perpetuated but the original focus is forgotten and they are often subverted for other purposes more acceptable to the world.
We are at that point now in our country. There is a generation rising now most of which has not known the Lord, has not been taught His Word or experienced spiritual life in Christ.
The leadership of entire church bodies, as well as Christian colleges, Seminaries and other organizations founded a generation or two ago is passing on to a generation that has no concept of the purpose for which these institutions were created. (There are glorious exceptions to this, praise God!)
Either God will send the revival for which we pray, or in the next few years these formerly Christian institutions will either fade away or be subverted for worldly purposes.
What can we do about it?
Let’s begin with prayer:
Lord God, we plead with You for the next generation. Reveal Yourself to our children and grandchildren. Sweep through our country by Your Holy Spirit so that hearts in every church are converted to You. Raise up a new generation of Christian leaders who will stand faithfully on Your Word by Your Holy Spirit’s power and serve one another in love. Show me what part I am to play in this. For the sake of Your Son, our Lord Jesus, let it be so. Amen.
Pastor Dan Giles