Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"The Synergy of the Generations"

      James W. Goll, Franklin, TN

If the Church hopes to be relevant and meet the needs of the twenty-first century and beyond, it must be willing to undergo a paradigm shift. The Elijah to Elisha Revolution confronts the status quo by challenging the Church to reexamine many of its assumptions. One of these assumptions is what could be called the "quick escape mentality."
For over a century many Believers have been taught that the end-times are near and to expect Christ to take His Church at any moment. This teaching has been especially prevalent in parts of the evangelical and Pentecostal branches of the Church. Whether or not this interpretation of prophecy is accurate is not my primary point. What is important is the influence it has had on the mind-set of the Church.
One positive result of the "rapture mentality" is that it has created in many Christians a sense of urgency with regard to evangelism and missions. If Christ could return "any day," then there is no time to lose in telling others about Jesus. On the other hand, this same mentality can have the unfortunate consequence of discouraging long-term planning. If everything is about to come to an end anyway, why focus on the future?
In my early years I was plagued by this short-term mind-set that emerged out of the Jesus People Movement. Zeal was abounding and the Holy Spirit was moving across the university I was attending. I became a Jesus Person and lived with other young men in a Jesus House. He thought he knew that Jesus was returning any moment to come and get His people out of this messy world.
A couple of the other young leaders planted a small rosebud tree in the front yard of the Jesus House. When I saw the newly planted tree I became disturbed and stated, "What are you doing spending money to plant that tree? Don't you know that Jesus will return long before that tree ever grows into maturity!" (Photo via Wikimedia)
Time passed; the tree grew. It became a beautiful flowering and haunting reminder to me that maybe God had a long-timer's mind-set for the fullness of His purposes to come to pass. Time has changed. Today I think "generationally."
Thinking Generationally
The modern Church must rediscover the mind-set of thinking generationally. For too long too many members of the Body of Christ have considered themselves part of a "terminal generation". It is time to change that way of thinking. Each generation of Christians needs to see itself as a bridge generation that builds on the past, lives in the present, and plans for the future. It is important to live each day as if Christ is coming back today, yet plan for tomorrow as if He will not return for years
Part of the mind-set of a bridge generation is recognizing and taking seriously the responsibility of passing on to the next generation a solid legacy of faith and godly values. Just how important is this "generational transfer"? Long ago someone observed that the Church is never more than one generation away from paganism. All it takes to lose everything is for one generation to fail in transferring its beliefs and principles to the next.
One of the most critical needs of the Church today is to renew its commitment to "generational transfer": passing on to the next generation not just principles, theology, and doctrinal beliefs, but also passionate heart affection. Each generation must learn to love God for themselves, and it is the responsibility of the preceding generation to teach them by modeling that love.It is a fundamental principle known as mentoring—spiritual fathering and mothering.
Spiritual Mentoring
Generational transfer does not happen overnight. There are no shortcuts, no pat formulas, or "25-words-or-less" summary statements for imparting faith and values. Success comes only with commitment, discipline, diligence, and patience. These qualities are fast becoming quaint notions of the past in today's fast-paced "microwave" society of instant gratification and ten-second sound bites.
This same attitude has become quite common throughout much of the Body of Christ. In truth, the fast burn of revival and the slow burn of spiritual mentoring are both critical to God's strategy for reaching the nations. Revival releases faith and changes individual lives while spiritual mentoring transforms culture.(Photo via Pixabay)
The fire of God that fell on Mount Carmel was the fast burn of revival. It released faith in the hearts of the Israelites that God was greater than Baal, but it did not turn the nation. Ahab and Jezebel still remained in power. At the same time, a switch began to occur. The Mount Carmel revival also ignited a slow-burning flame that stirred an underground movement of spiritual revolution that climaxed many years later in cultural transformation.
Elijah set the stage by his faithfulness as a spiritual father, but it is the next generation under Elisha and Jehu that destroys Jezebel, who represents the domination of culture by the powers of darkness, and brings transformation to the land.
A Synergy of Generations
Synergy is defined as the condition where distinct groups work together in a cooperative arrangement in such a way that the total effect is greater than the sum of the individual effects. In other words, the group accomplishes more working together than the individual members could achieve working independently.
One of the things that the Elijah to Elishas Revolution represents is God's desire to link multiple generations into a synergistic relationship once again. Three generations moving together toward a shared goal can accomplish more than the sum of what each generation could achieve separately. This synergy of the generations is something that God promised He would bring about in the last days. I have often referred to this as the "convergence of the ages."
A "convergence of the ages" will come upon us. The falling of Pentecostal fire, healing and deliverance crusades, the latter rain presence, the evangelical burden for the lost, the charismatic giftings, the zeal of the Jesus people movement, the credibility of the third wave, the revelation of the prophetic movement, and the relational networking of the apostolic reformation—all will swell into a tidal wave greater than the impact of the Reformation five hundred years ago and create what could be called the Transformation Generation.
Before Christ returns, God will release an explosion of His Holy Spirit that will shatter paradigms in people's minds and cause the whole Church to begin thinking generationally rather than selfishly. A whole generation will begin to give themselves to their "Elishas," to raise up "double portion" sons and daughters who will dominate their culture in the power of the Holy Spirit.
When God describes Himself as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, He is not just identifying Himself by name; He is describing His very being and how His purposes proceed throughout history. God told Abraham that his children would be as the stars in the sky or the sand on the seashore, yet Abraham had only one son of promise: Isaac. Isaac passed the promise on to his son, Jacob, who passed it on to his 12 sons, one of whom was Joseph, who rose to prominence in Egypt. After a small beginning, in the fourth generation one appeared who ruled an entire nation. All of Jacob's sons were fruitful, their descendants multiplying across many generations to become the 12 tribes of the nation of Israel.
What Vision Are You Running With?
The Father's great desire is to fill the earth with mature spiritual offspring. This will happen not through a crash course in holiness, but through one generation patiently and faithfully passing on to the next not just information and knowledge, but wisdom, passion, integrity, faith, heart affection, and vision.
Each generation must learn to honor those who have gone before, the "pioneers" of the Church who have followed their vision and forged a path for their descendants to walk. Many spiritual parents and grandparents are alive today who ache inside because they have not yet seen the fullness of what God spoke to them 20, 30, or even 50 or more years ago. They long to see their vision fulfilled in their children.
Right before moving from Kansas City, Missouri, to Nashville, Tennessee, I was given a striking dream. In it I saw a scrapbook with the year 1988 written on the outside of it. This was a year of much prophetic activity in the Body of Christ and a time of fresh new beginnings.
As I opened up the scrapbook in the dream, I read prayers and statements of commitments people had made in 1988. Then, to his surprise, when he turned to the fourth page, I found my own handwriting (and could read it!) where it had the following piercing vow.
"I, Jim Goll, vow to be the unique vessel God created me to be and I vow to do 'all that He created me for.'" Then it continued, "And I vow to help others be the unique vessels God has created them to be and to help them be all they can be in God!" Then I could read my own signature as though written in blood! (Photo via Wikipedia)
Yes, God wants us to be secure, unique and multiple! He wants to be fruitful.
Where are the Spiritual Fathers and Mothers?
The need of the hour is great. Where are the spiritual fathers and mothers who will pray in the spirit of Elijah, "God, give me a spiritual son or daughter"? Where are the "elders" who will bless those children with their time, knowledge, and every good thing that God has given them? Where are the mentors who will share their life with those children, knowing that generational transfer is about life impartation and not just information?
Where will the sons and daughters find spiritual parents who will dream with them and for them, help them tap into their God-given passions and destiny, encourage them and intercede for them? I am a survivor of many trials and I have learned many lessons. I have seen many movements rise and fall in my own life I want to pass these wisdom lessons on to the generations after me. That is my dream!
Responsibility fosters maturity while maturity leads to greater responsibility. The Elijah to Elisha Revolution calls for a joining of the generations. It means imparting blessing by a spoken word or a meaningful touch, by giving them a high appraisal of their value, by helping them envision their future in the family of God. It means helping with practical steps, providing necessary resources, and releasing authority to them to accomplish their God-given commission.
Who will rise to the challenge? Who will cry out to the Lord, "I will help take up the fatherless generation! God, give me a spiritual son or daughter!"? Will you?
May My Ceiling Become Your Floor!
James W. Goll
This is inspired from the third chapter of The Call to the Elijah Revolution co-authored by Lou Engle and James Goll.
Dr. James W. Goll
Founder of Encounters Network • Prayer Storm • God Encounters Training e-School

Dr. James W. Goll is the president of Encounters Network, director of Prayer Storm, and coordinates Encounters Alliance, a coalition of leaders. He is director of God Encounters Training – an e-school of the heart, and is a member of the Harvest International Ministries apostolic team. He has shared Jesus in more than 50 nations worldwide, teaching and imparting the power of intercession, prophetic ministry, and life in the Spirit. James is the prolific author of numerous books and has also produced multiple study guides and hundreds of audio and video messages. James was married to Michal Ann for 32 years before her graduation to Heaven in the fall of 2008. James has four adult children who all love Jesus, and continues to make his home in Franklin, Tennessee.