Week One, 2020
THE NEXT GENERATION
By Florida Senator John Grant, Retired
Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. – 1 Timothy 5:17
TIME announced its annual list of the 100 most influential people. The list reads like a Who’s Who of humanity, spanning genders, generations, ethnicities and professions. In its customary format, TIME’s list features character sketches written by other recognizable names, making for a memorable feature for anyone interested in communications and leadership.
From artists to activists to astronauts, the list is full of inspirational people who have or will make an impact. About equally divided in gender, the list was multi-racial and very young. Most were from sports, entertainment, technology and politics. Other than the Pope, not a single one even touched on faith or religion and certainly there were no evangelicals.
Reading the list made me think about the future of the church and the fact that we are, but one generation away from losing it. Why is there not one evangelical person of influence?
Millennials, those 18-34 years of age make up third percent, one in three, of our population, aged 22-37. They are over 75 million strong and eclipse the current size of the postwar baby boom generation. They are the future. But here is the question: Can religion still speak to younger Americans?
The Millennials are the fastest-growing population on the American religious landscape today and are the “None’s”—people who don’t identify with any religion. Recent data from the American Family Survey indicates that the none numbers increased from 16% in 2007 to 35% in 2018…… one in three Americans.
Over the same period, there has been a dramatic decline in the share of the population who identify as Christian, from 78% of Americans in 2007 to 65% in 2018-19, according to a report by the Pew Research Center released this month. The rise of None’s is even more dramatic among younger people: 44% of Americans aged 18 to 29 are None’s.
If we were to make a list of the most influential people of the evangelical future, could we find 100 strong enough to make the list? The call to the pulpit has changed and Pastors are increasingly hired for their management skills or rhetorical ability over and above their biblical wisdom or their meeting of the biblical qualifications for eldership. Our people don’t know their Bible very well, and this is in large part the fault of a generation of wispy preaching and teaching. People are increasingly drawn to feel good prosperity preaching and preachers both in the pulpit and on TV are giving them what they want. It is all about filling both the pew and the plate.
Think about it, the church as we have known it can be lost in a generation. Evangelicals need to stand up, take back the church and demand Bible based preaching and teaching.
After all, we are only one generation away…..
SOMETIMES TRUE STORIES
2020…. The new year ahead:
I know this may seem obvious to say, but every sunrise starts a new day in our lives, presenting us with the chance to turn the page and to move on. To open the door to a brand-new day of challenges, adventures and opportunities.
Opportunities to build on all the good of yesterday, learn from all the mistakes and disappointments, and to do what we may not have ever done before—all while continuing to grow into all we were meant to be.
But to do that, we have to turn the page. We have to move from yesterday, and all the yesterdays of your past. We have to move into the new day. Pastor Scott Whitaker
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A Scottish pastor was famous for beginning his invocation each Sunday with a word of thanksgiving. He could find something positive in even the most negative of times. Then came a Sunday when the weather was atrocious: icy streets, frigid temperatures, howling winds. When the pastor rose to pray, those in the congregation thought, “Surely he’ll not begin with thanksgiving on such a terrible day as this. As the pastor rose to pray, he began: “Thank you Lord that the weather is not always as bad as it is today.”
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If the trends measured by a recent survey continue, the nation itself is in its sunset years. A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll reveals that Millennials and Generation Z have significantly less belief in the importance of patriotism, faith in God, and conceiving children. And despite the fact that most Americans remain satisfied by the state of the nation’s economy and their personal finances, a majority of respondents are angry at the country’s political and financial classes, worried about the nation’s economic future, and what kind of country they are passing on to future generations. How much will the trend continue through the coming new year?
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Abortion clinic CEO compares abortion to removing a mole or getting a root canal.
QUOTES YOU CAN USE
Your limitations are not simply obstacles to your success—they are also indications from God of the path your life is to take. Michel Quoist
God will either give us what we ask or give us what we would have asked if we knew everything He knows. Tim Keller
The higher the mountain, the harder the climb. But the greater the view when we arrive. Jim Denison
Words and ideas can change the world. And not always for the better. Robin Williams
One cannot enjoy the power of grace unless they have given it or needed it. Elle Sheen’s Diary
Music can open doors our hearts have locked and dead bolted. Elle Sheen’s Diary
So far as religion of the day is concerned, Religion is all bunk… All Bibles are man-made. Thomas Edison
Clinical depression: Nothing will ever be better than it is now. Ken Whitten
There is no limit to the amount of good you can do, if you don’t care who gets the credit. Ronald Reagan
Grief and suffering are intensely lonely experiences. While we cannot truly say to others, “I know how you feel,” we can say to them, “I am sorry for how you feel.” And we can demonstrate our compassion in action. Jim Denison