Article by Heidi Piersall
Bill Johnson once stated, “Family is so much a part of the Kingdom, that if you leave family, you’ve left the Kingdom.” God set forth His initial plan for mankind when He created Adam and Eve and established them as a family. His plan all along has been for His people to live in relationship with Him and relationship with one another. The idea of the family being at the very core of His Kingdom is evidenced through God Himself, the Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This is also the key to church health and developing the next generation of church leaders.
With family as the foundational component of the Kingdom, it is no wonder that the enemy has set his target at destroying the family unit. Hoping to destroy the very picture we have been given of our loving Father and our sense of belonging here on the earth. As the Church, we have the opportunity and responsibility to establish and live from God’s original plan, family. True family is selfless, loving, accepting, authentic and confrontational at times. True family is committed to one another and produces growth in its members. Family is sacrificial and lives for the generations to come. In the past, church has not looked like family. Relationships have been severed over disagreements and in some instances; leaders have exploited their people and their gifts for their own personal gain, without any regard to their people’s personal development.
As the church is entering its greatest hour, Holy Spirit has released a fresh grace for the Body to truly be family. Family is a church small group. This revelation is not just for the saints, but for the world, as God’s true nature is displayed through our relationships. Spiritual fathers and mothers are discipling spiritual sons and daughters. Empowering them with opportunities for growth and increased authority. Sons and daughters are beginning to believe in themselves and what they carry, because of their spiritual parents’ belief in them. Spiritual fathers and mothers are providing the support system needed for the younger generations to walk in the fulfillment of their destiny, providing instruction when needed and championing their dreams. As sons and daughters allow spiritual parents to speak in to their lives and willingly receive instruction from them, structure is built within them and exponential growth takes place. Without this exchange of submission and instruction, believers remain in a state of immaturity and independence. Which leads to the question, how do we instill a value for spiritual parenting and discipleship in a generation that doesn’t have a value for it?
The Millennial Generation, those falling in between the ages of 18 and 34 years old, are an un-parented generation. They lack christian leadership, ministry coaching and basic life skills. Some are truly fatherless and void of any paradigm of family, while others have grown up in homes where their parents were present, but completely absent from them emotionally and relationally. Their parents didn’t discipline their behavior or attitude. Having not learned how to submit to those God has placed over them in their earthly family and with a history of independence, this generation is bold enough to pursue their dreams, but would rather go at it alone, rather than in the context of family.
So, how does one parent someone who doesn’t want to be parented? How does the church help the Millennial Generation position their hearts towards development, to commit to a process that will lead to growth and maturity? We first have to instill a value for spiritual parenting. Because they have not been parented in the natural, they don’t have a grid for spiritual parenting; therefore, they don’t see the need for it. Here are some ways we as the Church can help the Millennial Generation develop a value for spiritual parenting.
- Vulnerably model it in our own lives so that they can see the benefits of being a spiritual son/daughter and how that relationship and process affects us personally.
- Exhibit value for something they value. As we do this, we are showing them that we have value for them as individuals. It opens them up and creates connection, developing relationship.
- As leaders, prioritize relationship with them and not just view them as tools to help you with the completion of your own projects and vision. As you care for them and their needs, trust is built and trust is the highway for true connection and relationship.
Millennials have a strong desire for meaning and aren’t afraid of taking risks in pursuit of dreams and significance. We need the strengths they bring to the Body. Spiritual parenting is key for this generation to reach maturity and develop in to the leaders for the next generation. God’s Kingdom is ever advancing and will continue to advance. One way to increase the momentum of this advancement is to tie the generations to one another, to no longer allow the enemy to bring division, creating barriers between the generations. Each generation has its own strength and revelation from God. As we stay connected to the generation before us, the momentum they created becomes our momentum. The wave grows larger and larger until we pass it on to the next generation with far greater momentum than they could have ever created on their own. The church is beginning to move with such unity of spirit and honor, that the reality of this synergy, the passing on of the wave, is taking place right now. It will be exciting to see what God does next with a generation that is unafraid to pursue their dreams and possesses the ability to yield and receive instruction and wisdom from the generation that came before them.