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Becoming A Missionary To The Next Generation

by | Apr 16, 2012 | Missions Articles

Insightful thoughts from Kelsie Mullen about bridging the generational gap

I’ll never forget one conversation I had with an older gentleman, “Al” from my husband’s home church in Dallas, TX. This is a community of ragtag redeemed street kids and homeless folks as well as middle class conservatives. The worship style is very loud and expressive with all kinds of drums and movement. The older gentleman told me how much he disliked their style and volume of music. He was way out of his comfort zone. He probably wanted to bolt for the door, but it was because of his love for these young people that he stuck around.

Then one Sunday during another one of these extended worship times, the Lord spoke this to his heart; “Al, which do you think displeases me more? Their expression of worship to me, or your judgmental attitude towards it? Can you leave your comfort zone and judgement in order to be a “father” figure for the fatherless? They need you.”

That question changed his life.

This issue of worship/music style is one of the most divisive arenas in the Body of Christ in the Western church. But there are actually deeper issues to examine. We are so driven by comfort and entertainment that we have become blind to it, myself included. We find it hard to step back and see the bigger picture. With the question above, the bigger picture happens to be a whole generation of youth who desperately need wisdom and counsel but are too absorbed in their own culture/issues to seek that counsel elsewhere.

Recently we had a leader’s meeting and someone (older than me) had what I thought was a great idea of how to welcome new people into the church. We were ready to move forward with it… until a young man spoke up and honestly explained that our idea would not work. Why not? Because as it turns out his generation would not respond to our idea. I was left scratching my head.

Once again in our church with so many young people, I am finding that bridging the gap between my generation and the next takes effort.

I ask questions…
I feel like a dinosaur…
I adjust.

The point is, after all, to reach the next generation rather than expecting them to fit into our mold. We must consider and explore where they are coming from. Sometimes I feel antiquated and confused. Sometimes I feel relevant and useful. I am dependent on them and they are dependent on us. It is the same when ministering in a Czech context. So many times I went to a Czech friend and ran an idea by them only to have them explain to me that my idea simply would not work here.

I ask questions…
I feel like an alien from outer space living on planet Earth…
I adjust.

Not everyone has the “calling”, but I know the Church needs more missionaries on a global level. God is seeking those who will leave their own comfort level to step into another zone, learn a new lingo and ask questions for the sake of the next generation. After all, doesn’t that Bible say “to whom much has been given, much is required.”? I believe that puts the burden of adjusting and understanding more on older generations, the more mature.

Will the Church adjust?

– Kelsie

John and Kelsie Mullen are Modern Day Field Workers in the Czech Republic.

If you would like to make a financial contribution to the Mullens, please click here.

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