Summer 2009 Rapport—web only content:
Empowering the Next Pentecostal Generation
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by Mike Oney
Mike Oney, senior pastor of Grace Assembly in Wake Forest, North Carolina, has extensive background in executive denominational leadership, church planting, consulting, coaching, and mentoring. Mike holds ordination credentials with the Assemblies of God and is presently a doctoral candidate at Regent University.
Christian leaders must engage the emerging generations if we are to fulfill our role in the Great Commission of “making disciples of all...” Somehow, we must find a way to connect across generations.
This concept of mentoring and empowering those coming behind us is strongly pronounced in the Old Testament. In Exodus 15:2 we encounter the phrase, “the Mighty One of my father.” The Hebraic thought here is that a father can connect his children to experiencing God in the way that he has experienced Him. As a father, I know that I must not only help my children know doctrines about God, but they must also come to know Him personally and experientially.
As a pastor, I am regularly looking for those who have a deep passion for mentoring others. My personal definition of a Christian mentor is someone who is able to stand alongside other people’s lives, note their past and present experiences, and guide them in a way that will connect their life experientially with God. I believe this deep passion to mentor others is reflected in Paul’s statement to Timothy, “…whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Phil. 4:9, NIV).
Perhaps the greatest value to embrace in cross-generational ministry is an attitude of acceptance toward those whom we mentor. While acceptance can mean many things, I particularly identify with Gladys Hunt’s definition when she said, “Acceptance means you can try out your ideas without being shot down. You can even express heretical thoughts and discuss them with intelligent questioning. You feel safe. No one will pronounce judgment on you, even though they don’t agree with you. It doesn’t mean you will never be corrected or shown to be wrong; it simply means it’s safe to be you and no one will destroy you out of prejudice.”1
I have a conviction that the way we see others impacts the way we choose to relate to them. We must see forthcoming generations as those who long to be mentored and empowered in our Pentecostal faith. Knowing they are passionate for what we have will help us bridge our faith into their lives and, perhaps, find that they have much to teach us as well.
1. Gladys M. Hunt quoted in Charles Swindoll, Tale of the Tardy Oxcart, (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1998), 3.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009 1:04 PM