We do not have to look far for examples in God’s word of how the people of all ages had to work, play, and thrive together to accomplish their purposes in life. My wife, Carol, and I started in missions in our early forties, so we have now become part of the senior generation of missionaries after 33 years. John and Edna Parker and Hobert and Margaret Howard were the ones we looked up to then. They laid the groundwork for much of what we have stepped into. Now, we hope to inspire the younger generation with the example of being Christ-like. The groundwork has definitely expanded, but what inspires us now is watching the younger (under 30s) generation really hit the streets, so to speak, and take things to new levels. Seeing the youth running EuroQuest, Converge, and the International Awakening base in Hungary are just a few examples that show we are in good hands with the younger generation.
As a senior, there are advantages as we have established a certain amount of credibility among national leaders, pastors, donors, and fellow workers. It takes less “doing” and more “being” in tune with the Lord’s plans to see His purpose fulfilled. I find that my work on the mission field is primarily facilitating what our national leaders have been called to do and helping them move forward in that call. Sometimes, it is strategizing and praying that the Lord is leading, and not just us coming up with good ideas ourselves. Sometimes, it is helping to move a big project forward by finding financial partners. We are in the second year of planting 50 new churches in the Ukraine. Our national leader, Bishop Valeriy Reshetinsky, had a vision for those 50 churches but, because of a depressed economy, lacked the finances. As this need was presented, our US/Canadian churches saw the need and pitched in. We are now nearing 45 planted churches. The Lord was in it and our donors trusted that their sponsored church would be planted.
Foundations for the next generation are being laid as we teach evangelism, discipleship, and church planting. Millennials and all generations can step into the most exciting life possible, following the purpose of God to reach their generation and beyond. I am always the most blessed when I take a team, especially the youth, to a mission field where they get to see and experience people coming to Christ.
Can ALL generations work together? Of course, we can, like we have always done. The only place there is a generational gap is in a mind that fears what the Lord is going to do when it is gone. My Lord is in charge of ALL generations.
By Bob Cave