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Leftovers vs. Legacy

Over the last few years I've been consumed with the idea of redemption. With a heart for the city it is easy to understand how my passions for redemption would run deep. When we think of redemption we often drift toward images of abandoned buildings or poor broken people. My mind's default brings about images of cleaning, painting, sweeping or drug rehab, new clothing and job creation.

Redemption however casts a much larger net than that 'default' concept. I have been thinking a lot about redemption when it comes to generational redemption. It appears to me that we have a generational gap that is unfortunately very clear and -to some- very deep. The older generation has invested years into ministries that were once thriving but are now barely surviving. The younger generation seems to find it difficult to cast a compelling vision for the future so we end up talking about what we dislike from the past. Frankly it's a mess and I believe it's dishonoring to our father and presents a poor picture of the Church of the Living God.

When a Christlike attitude does not prevail we can cause one another much harm. My generation can be jaded and come across as rude while our parents and grandparents generation can come off as condescending and arrogant. This impasse ultimately has little to do with theological problems. It does however have to do with how we perceive and receive one another.

As leaders in the American Church we all have to put our big boy pants on and push our differences aside. Western Christianity is at an impasse where we have to work on the passing of the baton.

With all of this in mind I want to ask my peer group a question:
How do you view the ministry of our senior saints who have paved the way for us? Do you consider their contribution to be leftovers from a bygone era or a legacy upon which you could build? I believe how we answer this question will define our ability to see a smooth generational transition.

In my current efforts with TheBaltimoreProject.com and my return home to Baltimore City I have had the opportunity to work with mature minds from every generation. What I hope my peer group will see is that many of these men who have labored for the gospel their entire lives truly want what's best for those coming behind them. I've been in some discussions recently where I've heard straight from their mouths the passion to see our generation step up and take the baton. It won't happen however so long as we remain disengaged from the process or jaded with our cynicism. It's on my shoulders as a young leader to concern myself with how I show honor to those who have come before. It is your responsibility as well. We set the example.

Two men I met along the way recently are Dr. James Merritt and a gentleman from First Baptist Church of Woodstock named Ken. Ken spends his days in and out of 'closed' countries so we're not using his last name.

I want you to know that these men are men of integrity who have expressed to me a desire to move beyond any generational divide and work together for the sake of the gospel around the world. They are representative of a larger group of Evangelical Christian leaders who have the will to bridge the gap with us if we're also willing to extend our hand in return.

Do we view their era and work as 'leftovers' or an opportunity for them to leave and us to build a 'legacy'?

I'll get into the difference in a future post. For now I want you to meet Dr. Merrit and my new friend Ken.

Dr. James Merritt from CaptivateChurch on Vimeo.

Ken from First Baptist Church of Woodstock from CaptivateChurch on Vimeo.

posted by Tally Wilgis @ Tuesday, December 02, 2008


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