Gabe wants to start a Praise Band at our church.

That makes me smile.

A Praise Band will broaden our ministries.  We will have both traditional music and contemporary music and we can reach people who listen to either style.  Gabe is new to our church and he wants to bring his talents and abilities to the church. Gabe is in his 20’s and he represents a whole new generation.

All of that is a reason to celebrate.

The way I calculate it, we are the 80th generation of followers of Jesus Christ.  For 2000 years, generation after generation has arrived at the church, brought in by parents and grandparents, invited by a friend to youth group, stumbled in looking for something.  Curiosity, community, hope, and hunger are all tactics employed by the Holy Spirit.  One generation yields to another.  The Bible pays close attention to generations.  Genesis 10, Matthew 1, and Luke 3 all describe one generation “begetting” another.  We are born, we age, we grow old, and another generation rises up to carry on the work of the church, the work of living on this planet with grace and commitment as followers of Jesus Christ.

People of Gabe’s generation are called “Digital Natives.”  They have grown up with computers and the internet and quick access to social media.   I feel my age.  I am over the hill.  The digital landscape of Facebook and Twitter feels like a foreign place to me.  I would rather sit on the porch and read a book.

But we need digital natives to reach digital natives.  This new generation, people like Gabe, will lead the church.  I believe and I hope they will honor our traditions, but they will not be content to simply follow our traditions.  The changing world outside the doors of the church will not allow them to.  In addition to being digital, they are the generation who grew up after 911.  School violence has always been a part of their understanding of school.  In light of what they have seen and experienced, their world makes different demands.  They will respond in their way.  They will start new traditions of their own, just as we did 40, 50, 60 years ago.

Gabe has written a description of what he hopes to do.  The goal is not just a band.  The goal is a small group ministry, where people get to know one another and glorify God with their gifts.  By their lives, they will inspire others.

Each new generation is really a fulfillment of God’s promise.  Hope continues.  Faith is eternal.  Mercy maintained. One generation after another.  New voices.  The same God.

That makes me smile.  Draws a prayer of thanks from my heart.

Holy God,

Thank you for the gifts of each generation.  With eyes open wide, the youth of each generation emerge.  Thank you for my father and his generation, who with full hearts headed off to World War 2 and then came home to live and lead their communities with the same sense of service.  Thank you for my generation, those who shared this road with me, the ones who knew Viet Nam and the Civil Rights Movement and paused before television sets to watch a man walk on the moon.  Thank you for the generation to come, those with cell phones in their pockets and apps and twitter to guide their days.  A generation who has grown up after 911.  A generation well aware of school violence.  Every generation has faced challenges and in each generation, Good and Holy God, you have been faithful, leading and guiding, teaching us to care for one another.  A changing world.  A sure and consistent grace.  As a new generation rises, allow us to hand over the reins of leadership with trust and celebration and anticipation of what is to come.  In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Pastor Cindy

Pastor Cindy Hickman
West Des Moines United Methodist Church
720 Grand Avenue
West Des Moines, IA 50265

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See you Sunday!