Sun, Nov 16, 2014

Generations of Faith Flourish

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I. The Biblical vision for intergenerational family discipleship

A. It all starts with loving God with all your heart. (Deuteronomy 6:1-9)
B. God's plan is for the generations to work together. (Psalm 78:1-7)
C. Each generation must stand or fall on its choices. (Ezekiel 18:1-4, 20-23, 30-32)
D. Generational patterns are powerful. (Exodus 34:7)

II. Our current situation

A. Families are under attack.
B. Youth are facing unprecedented pressures.
C. The Church's response has been age-graded or segregated ministry.
D. The unintended effects – passive parents and the drop-off mentality.
E. It hasn't worked.

III. What is God doing here? What is our vision?

A. Models of ministry

1. Programmatic
2. Family-Friendly
3. Family-Equipping
4. Family-Integrated

B. We believe God is asking us to choose Family Equipping.
C. What does it look like?
D. Where do we go from here?

IV. Application

A. Accept your responsibility (parents, grandparents, younger generation).
B. Families worship together.
C. Engage in this process. Talk with us. Help us move this forward.
D. Reject passivity. Decide that the drop-off mentality is not good enough.
E. Explore what family devotions could look like. Take a baby step with Advent readings.
F. Just start.

Discussion Questions:

1) Can you think of someone in your life who was so in love with Jesus that this love impacted others? How did this person's love for God affect you? Do you think of passing on the faith as passing on your love for God?
How do you pass on your passions in general? Is passing on your passion for Christ different? Why or why not?
2) Are you keeping some of the great things of God secret from the next generation? Were some of the great things of God kept secret from you? If so, how do we break the cycle?
3) What do you think when you hear – "the soul that sins, it shall die" (Ezekiel 18:4)? Can one generation believe for another? What do you think of the expression, "God doesn't have grandchildren, just children"?
What are the implications of the teaching that each generation is accountable for the choices it makes?
4) Are generational patterns irreversible? Do genetics determine behavior? Does our culture emphasize the role of nature or nurture right now?
Are generational patterns just an excuse to keep sinning?
How do Christians acknowledge the power of generational patterns without reducing each generation's accountability?
5) Try to list all the pressures families are under today. Which of those pressures is most real to you?
6) Do you feel connected to the challenges young people are facing today? Can you remember school shootings in your childhood? Do you think bullying is worse today, or is it that it is being talked about now?
Had you ever heard of people harming themselves on purpose (cutting)? Was that a reality that you saw in your youth?
7) How does the payment/fee-for-service mindset affect how the church runs?
How effective has the church been at teaching that parents are full partners in the discipleship of their children? Have you ever had a meaningful conversation with a spiritual leader at Calvary about how to disciple your
8) To what would you attribute the young people's exodus from the church? (The best data says that
60-80 % are leaving the church.)
Do you personally know any young people who have left the church? How would you explain this? Are you motivated enough to help us do something about it?
9) Do you believe we can continue to do business as usual as a broader Church and expect to see a reversal of our situation? How deep a change should we make, if any? Do you think small cosmetic changes will radically
reverse our present circumstances? How much change is too much?
10) What do you think about Calvary's vision to partner with parents in discipling the next generation? Does the idea of equipping parents as partners with resources make sense to you? Can you get excited about
mobilizing grandparents to actively partner in building intergenerational faith?
11) What do you think about families worshiping together? What if the price to pay for intergenerational worship is a little extra noise? Is it worth it?

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