Passing the Baton by Raising Expectations
by Tom Goodman
October 23, 2008
If you're over 50, have you inspired a younger adult lately toward the higher call of Christ?
My daily Bible reading plan put me at 2 Timothy 2 this morning. Paul told his young friend Timothy to "be strong" and "endure hardship." He went on to compare a minister to "a good soldier," "an athlete," and a "hardworking farmer."
Paul used those bracing words to inspire a younger man in the ministry, and he gives us an example in how God wants us to relate to adults younger than us. Just as Paul had high expectations for Timothy, we need to set high expectations for
younger adults we know and love.
A couple of weeks ago I began a series on passing the baton. It's one of the most critical lessons a church body has to learn. Last week we "de-coded" our church's ZIP code to discover that our mission field is chock-full of those in the first half of adulthood. Now, how does a church pass the baton to
the adults coming up?
One way is to inspire those in the first half of adulthood to the high calling of life in Christ. At Hillcrest we use the acrostic H.I.L.L. to define this high calling:
HONOR the Lord of Life. We have not securely passed the baton to the next generation until we see them honoring God through authentic weekly worship, through faithful financial stewardship, through expectant prayer, and
through a consistent Christian lifestyle. Our expectation is that worship attendance should be the first thing younger adults think of doing on Sundays instead just one of several options. Our expectation is that younger adults
discover the value of the tithe. Our expectation is that younger adults seek the transformation of their lives and their world through prayer. And our expectation is that younger adults live the faith they profess.
INVITE Your World to Life. We have not securely passed the baton to the next generation until we see that their faith is "contagious." Our expectation is that they will become effective witnesses to God's glory and grace among the
lost and unchurched in their world.
LOVE the Fellowship for Life. We have not securely passed the baton to the next generation until we see them fully committed to the Hillcrest family. Sunday morning attendance at worship is a nice start, but our expectation is that
they will plug into a small group in Sunday School or Common Ground. Our expectation is that they will find a place to serve in and through Hillcrest. Our expectation is that they will stay informed about the decisions facing their church
and support the valuable work of their church with their time, their prayers, and their offering.
LIVE the Word in Life. We have not securely passed the baton to the next generation until we see them applying God's practical Word to their issues and struggles. Our expectation is that younger adults will seek marriage (and seek purity
before marriage), because "marriage should be honored by all and the marriage bed kept pure" (Hebrews 13:4). Our expectation is that younger adults will practice good money management instead of falling into the debt trap. Our expectation
is that younger adults will seek the guidance of scripture in how they raise their kids.
In the pulpit, in our classes, in our mentoring relationships, within our family, we must be sure we're raising the bar and setting the expectations high. Certainly, these challenges should be laid out in the context of encouragement and within
the nurturing relationship you're building with those younger than you. But, as Paul demonstrated in his relationship with Timothy, God wants us to pass on the baton of faith. And one way we do that is through prayerful, loving challenge.
Like Paul, you can't be satisfied until you're seeing younger adults experiencing the benefits you've discovered from faithful service to Christ.
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