It’s Important for Christians to Develop a Multigenerational Mentality. Here’s Why.

By Michael Brown Published on May 17, 2024

In the Scriptures, the Lord is known as “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” reminding us that He is a multigenerational God. This was a foundational concept in the life of the people of Israel, as indicated in Psalm 78:

I will sing a song that imparts wisdom; I will make insightful observations about the past. What we have heard and learned — that which our ancestors have told us — we will not hide from their descendants. We will tell the next generation about the LORD’s praiseworthy acts, about his strength and the amazing things he has done. He established a rule in Jacob; he set up a law in Israel. He commanded our ancestors to make his deeds known to their descendants, so that the next generation, children yet to be born, might know about them. They will grow up and tell their descendants about them. Then they will place their confidence in God. They will not forget the works of God, and they will obey his commands (Ps. 78:2–7, NET, my emphasis).

This theme is found throughout the Old Testament, and many laws and customs were instituted for the dual purpose of reminding the current generation and informing the next generation about the works of the Lord. That was the case with the Passover celebration, as Moses explained to the people of Israel on the eve of their exodus from Egypt:

You shall observe this rite as a statute for you and for your sons forever. And when you come to the land that the LORD will give you, as he has promised, you shall keep this service. And when your children say to you, ‘What do you mean by this service?’ you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the LORD’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’ (Exodus 12:24–27)

Do this today so that your children will carry this out tomorrow, passing on the legacy of your faith to the succeeding generations.

Escapist End-Times Eschatology

This is something traditional Jews grasp deeply: training their children from their earliest conscious hours, as taught in verses like these in the Psalms: “from generation to generation we will recount your praise. . . . One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts” (Ps. 79:13b; 145:4).

The Ten Commandments even taught that blessing or judgment could be passed on to future generations:

You shall have no other gods besides Me. You shall not make for yourself a sculptured image, or any likeness of what is in the heavens above, or on the earth below, or in the waters under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them. For I the LORD your God am an impassioned God, visiting the guilt of the parents upon the children, upon the third and upon the fourth generations of those who reject Me, but showing kindness to the thousandth generation of those who love Me and keep My commandments. (Exodus 20:3–6, New Jewish Version)

Unfortunately, this multigenerational mentality is often missing in the church today, due in large part to a faulty, escapist theology that says, “We’re going to be out of here any minute!”

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With a mindset like that, how can we plan for the future or have any kind of long-term strategy? How can we compete with those who believe they are here to stay when we are convinced that we won’t be staying much longer?

What makes this more insidious is that the worse things get in society, the more prone we are to think, This must be the end of the world! Jesus is coming any minute. And so, at the very point in time that we should be taking a stand against societal decline and working for a better world for our kids and grandkids, we abdicate our responsibilities, thereby clearing the way for our ideological opponents to set the agenda for the coming generations.

Unbalanced, Unbiblical, and Unfruitful

Even Christians who don’t believe in this “we’re out of here any moment” theology are often prone to think in the short term since, they reason, The world will only get worse and heaven is our real home. The best thing we can do is hunker down and get ready for the world to come.

That is an unbalanced, unbiblical, and unfruitful mentality, often leading to apathy (Why bother?), carnality (Just enjoy yourself!), or pessimism (Everything’s falling apart!). It certainly does not lead to long-term, positive, multigenerational planning and acting.

And all the while, as we think to ourselves, “We’re out of here any minute,” those with very different visions for society are writing their agendas into law.

That’s why it is so essential that we develop a multigenerational mentality, determined to leave a better world to our children and grandchildren.

To be sure, it remains my great goal to see Jesus return in my lifetime, handing the baton directly to Him at the end of my race. But if that is not the case, I will pass the baton on to the next generation. And every day, with every opportunity I have, I will pour into that next generation.

May our sons and daughters, naturally and spiritually, stand on our shoulders and do great exploits for God. May they succeed where we failed and may they build on our successes. And right now, at this very moment, may we join together across the generations and glorify Jesus while we have breath.

It certainly is time.

(Some of the material in this article was excerpted and adapted from Michael L. Brown, Saving a Sick America: A Prescription for Moral and Cultural Transformation.)

 

Dr. Michael Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. He is the author of more than 40 books, including Can You be Gay and Christian?; Our Hands Are Stained With Blood; and Seize the Moment: How to Fuel the Fires of Revival. You can connect with him on Facebook, X, or YouTube.

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