I love the emerging generations. I love the teenagers and the 20 somethings, and you know what, I love the 30 somethings too. Funny that as time goes on you even to start to think of 30 somethings as part of the “emerging generations”. Probably because you can look back at your own 30 something self and realize that you were still emerging then too. Come to think of it I’m pretty sure I’m still emerging even now in a lot of ways; maybe that’s part of the problem – people decide at some point that they’ve “emerged” enough and in the process they become disconnected to the ones who are still emerging.
I love being a father. As a father I love being around my kids (and now grandkids). I just like to watch them, always have. My wife and I have four great kids, and I would like to say they have brought us nothing but joy but of course it really wouldn’t be the truth. Not that they haven’t and that they don’t continue to bring us immense joy, and pride and all that, but there have been hard times and steep challenges along the way. It’s part of the deal, the real deal.
We have also been graced by God to be considered as a spiritual mother and father to those of whom the Lord has divinely placed in our lives. They too have brought us great joy, but have also provided ample challenges along the way. It’s part of the deal, the real deal.
As a father with a fathers heart there is a phenomenon that I have embraced with mixed emotions, and that is the rising awareness as well as the intentional practice of connecting the generations of fathers and mothers to sons and daughters in the spiritual sense. I say mixed emotions because while this is completely the heart of Father God and recognize it as an authentic movement, there are those who have embraced it as just another opportunity to gather to themselves people with a legitimate need for real fathering and mothering in the faith, only to use them for their own sense of self-importance or even for their own gain. This is the rise of the fake fathers, the counterfeits who grab the social media headlines and self appointed seats of honor, while the authentic fathers and mothers pour out their lives selflessly with no fanfare, yet they are the ones who are molding a generation of Kingdom builders and world changers. In the end the authentic, the God-ordained, will prevail, while the pretenders will slip pitifully into oblivion.
And so my wife and I are at the point in our lives now where we are doing a little bit more reflecting than we probably ever have. Maybe it’s because we’ve just got a lot more to reflect on. When you’re 25 or 30 your vault where you store up stuff to reflect on just really isn’t that full, and besides, at that age it just seems like more or less a waste of time anyway, the focus is more like – on to the next thing! And hurry!!
When you turn the corner of 50 and you’re staring 60 straight in the eyes all of a sudden you start seeing all those 20 and 30 somethings going peddle to the metal in an effort to make their mark in the world (whether it be business or career, as well as spiritually – Kingdom endeavors), and you see yourself at that age, and it causes you to reflect, and to remember. And now you have the ability to take those experiences of your 30 year old self and place them in the context of the greater timeline of your life, and you see more clearly what was being accomplished both in yourself and what God was doing through you for His glory. It’s almost always not what you thought it was when you were in the heat of pushing through it, or at the least there was so much more, there was something greater going on.
I write all this at the risk of sounding old. Wait… I just went back and reread the last several paragraphs, and… I definitely do sound old. OK so I’m not 30 anymore – chronologically at least – but I’m still in the arena (reference to one of my favorite Teddy Roosevelt quotes) and I’m still running this race and I’m not jumping off any time soon, so these young dudes had better lace up their Nike’s nice and tight if they expect to keep up. I really hope and pray that they pass me up and I expect they will, but the more we can run together the more we will see the Body of Christ built up and the Kingdom of God advanced.
One of the great disappointments in life is to have seen so many become engulfed in the flames of love and passion for Jesus, consumed with a desire to live for Him and share His love with others, only to see barely a flicker years later, and in some cases that flame has seemed to go out altogether. On the flip side one of the great encouragements is to witness those who have continued to burn with a passion and an intensity, even though seasons and assignments may shift and change, their perseverance and commitment does not. Though they have experienced much, they have not given in to the siren song of our culture to just coast on in, to step aside, take it easy, to disengage, and to “get out of the way” as it were.
In all this there is a dynamic that I have become aware of through observation over the years, and that is wherever the older generation of seasoned saints who have maintained the “fire in their bones”, connect with and impart to the emerging generation of living stones and fiery messengers, there is something that can best be described as a sort of “synergy of the ages” (a term borrowed from Dutch Sheets in his book “An Appeal to Heaven”), that this connection somehow becomes a wind that blows on the flames of destiny in the lives of those who are so connected.
Where I have seen an absence of this dynamic, where the flames of passion and the wind of revival begin to flow in a corporate way, and movement begins to happen, especially when initialized through the emerging generations as it very often does, with a life and a vibrancy, an innocence and a purity, when that special visitation is entrusted to a predominately youthful core of leaders, and there is a neglect of intentionally soliciting input or oversight from proven fathers and mothers in the faith, the life span and impact of these movements are regrettably short lived and diminished. Too often the prevailing attitude is “we got this”, and they go on to fall into all sorts of quagmires that ultimately lead to the demise of what was being established. Of course the fear often times is that the older generation will just try to recreate in some way how God had moved in their experience (a valid concern for sure), which is something we’ll have to expound on more at another time.
I have been privileged to be connected to a few of these fiery fathers in the faith, the ones who have selflessly and courageously poured into my life, who have been straight up and spoken the truth in love. They have shown me that it is possible to step on someones toes without messing up their shine, because it was me who was the one getting stepped on when need be. They understood what it meant to invest their lives into the generations coming up behind them and to impart into others what they had been entrusted by God with in their own lives, they didn’t even consider holding on to it for their own glory, but took joy in giving it away.
One such man that my wife and I have had the privilege to see and experience this up close and personal is a guy named Kent Henry. We met and got to know Kent close to twelve years ago now, and when we were pastoring a church in Tampa Kent came and poured into us and into our region several times over those years. Kent is a forerunner, a pioneer, and a father in the modern worship music movement that we have seen evolve and explode into a massively powerful expression. Kent is fearlessly devoted and he helped blaze a trail and release a sound that was characterized by bringing an intimacy and transparency in worship that was focused on the presence of the Lord. The Integrity albums that he led worship on were groundbreaking and have been an inspiration for not only every significant worship movement and artist, but for the Body of Christ at large. Kent continues to be a resource as he has determined to pour himself out for the generations following.
We would bring Kent to our church not simply to lead worship, but more importantly to bring an impartation – to the emerging worshippers who were just beginning to understand the anointing they were beginning to move in, and to bring a fathers affirmation and admonition (see the following pic). There was teaching, exhortation, and activation, and most importantly there was impartation, and I have seen first hand the impact that a fathers impartation has had for those on the receiving end. They were put on a trajectory that propelled them deeper into the Fathers heart, which resulted in an acceleration of skill, creativity, and anointing while remaining centered and focused on Jesus.
A few weeks ago I had a dream and in the dream Kent Henry was in amongst a group of young people as he usually is, and he was attempting to speak into them, but by and large they seemed disinterested and almost totally oblivious. They were completely unaware that an authentic father was in their midst, and did not see the value of taking heed to what he was trying to impart to them.
As I pondered the dream I realized that in the dream Kent represented what I would consider to be the authentic Fathers and Mothers of this day who are not being heard by or who are disconnected from the emerging generations that are now rising up to find their role and take their place in being agents of transformation in bringing revelation of Kingdom into the earth.
I say now is the time for the authentic Fathers and Mothers to arise, to pour their lives into a generation and into a people, to take authority over every obstacle that inhibits this coming together, that the “synergy of the ages” will be put on full display, to the glory of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Hey, I’m all in, how about you? Young or old, we’re in this together and we need one another, let’s come together and just see what happens, I have a feeling it’s going to be awesome.
Happy Fathers Day!