Sun, Nov 01, 2015

Intergenerational Faith -- Perennial Possibilities

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Big Idea: America has become much more secular than it was before Denying this will not allow us to properly prepare for our part in addressing the challenges this reality creates. Intergenerational faith has always been a challenge, but
by understanding the repeating patterns and responding properly we can make great strides towards realizing God’s vision for us.

I. Getting our heads around the secularization of America

A. The rise of the megachurch masks the problem.

B. Rural churches are in decline.

C. Mainline churches are in rapid decline.

D. Church hopping leads to an ever decreasing pool.

II. The Challenge of intergenerational faith

A. Fear (Numbers 14:1-12, 20-23, 31-35)

1. Fear of being out of control

2. Fear that following God isn’t safe

3. Fear of negative outcomes

4. We have fears, too.

B. One generation forgets. (Deuteronomy 31:20-21; Judges 2:10)

C. Entitlement

D. We got this, so we don’t need God.

III. Solutions

A. Do not fear.

1. Name your fears. I am afraid of ________________.

2. Confess you fears. Tell God about them.

3. Chose to believe that God is bigger than your fear.

4. Tell yourself the truth about God. God’s got this.

B. One generation tells the next of the great things of God.

C. Leave room for hard things and even failure.

D. Try living below your standard of living to live on mission.

E. We need to humble ourselves. (John 15:1-5)


Discussion Questions:

1) Have you noticed a more secular mentality in American culture? Or would you see America as closer to God than, say, 30 years ago? What evidence would you point to in answering this question?

2) Where did you grow up? Was it city, suburban or rural? What was church life like there? Have you noticed a change in church life in rural settings? Have you talked to any farmers lately? Are their kids farming? What new jobs are there in small towns?

3) What impact do you think church hopping has on the health of churches? What impact does church hopping have on building authentic and deep community?

4) Have you seen someone’s fear create a self-fulfilling prophecy? Is fear a force of its own, or can it be controlled? Have you had success conquering a fear? If so, how did you do that?

5) Where were you on 9/11? Do you remember? How do you help others to remember? How long do you think this generation will remember? Will the next generation remember? Why or why not? Are there some methods of reminding people that are more effective than others?

6) Why do you think is America more “entitled” now? What drives entitlement? What can we do to slow this down? What about spiritual entitlement? Is that a generational problem? What can you do to reduce spiritual entitlement?

7) Can you think of a fear that you have in this area of intergenerational faith? Would you share that with your group?

8) How do you balance your desire to see the next generation safe with your desire to see it growing and stretching? Do you lean toward risk-taking or playing it safe? How do you (and how do we) avoid the excesses of either extreme? What is the danger of not taking enough chances?

9) Is the millennial generation too concerned with justice? Is this just a fad, or is this a corrective against previous generations ignoring the issue? Who gets to decide that question and how?

10) How do you tell your story to the next generation? Can you think of ways to do that?

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