Zeal for the Lord should consume us (John 2:17): zeal for Jesus, zeal for our Heavenly Father, zeal for His Kingdom on the Earth as it is in Heaven, and zeal for more of Holy Spirit living in and loving through us. The King of kings and His Kingdom IS this life’s goal. He should be the desire of our hearts individually, and also His command to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations [help the people to learn of Me, believe in Me, and obey My words], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19 AMP). There is no way to obey that command apart from His supernatural love.

Some in obedience to His command were used to dramatically change the course of my life when I was saved at a Lay Witness Mission, sponsored by several churches on behalf of the youth in our small community, at the age of 14. I have served the Lord with the music He placed within me in the church and in ministry from the age of 11. In my late twenties, I began to sense the Lord drawing me to a wholehearted, 24/7 lifestyle of living for Him that only continues to increase in this NOW time.

We are living in times of Kingdom preparation. There is an urgency to train up this generation to live eternally NOW. How we invest this life matters for all eternity. This generation is called to possess a testimony of having always known and walked with the Lord. You see, when we comprehend at an early age that our identity is rooted and grounded in Christ alone, and that nothing and no one else can ever define us, we become empowered to live for the glory of His name alone and for the advancement of His Kingdom on the Earth.

What are we going to do to prepare our children and youth to live with a personal zeal for the Lord that consumes them? Churches have asked this question amidst the multitude of cultural distractions and diversions. A Willow Creek REVEAL Study by Russ Rainey, Ph.D.. states the following: “Before the research, Willow Creek had been assuming that “the more a person far from God participates in church activities, the more likely it is those activities will produce a person who loves God and loves others.” However, this assumption was found to be invalid by the research. To quote the study: “Does increased attendance in ministry programs automatically equate to spiritual growth? To be brutally honest: it does not.”1

Additionally, 2017 Barna Research states, “Millennials are the least likely generation to regularly go to church; less than three in ten (28%) attend weekly. Only 11% of today’s women see church or religious ‘activities’ as a top priority. However, the research also reveals that people who are disconnected from church – even those who self-identify as Christian – are less likely to engage in other faith activities that include Bible reading, prayer, volunteering, and charitable giving. ‘Whether we want to admit it or not, church attendance roots believers in regular faith rhythms and increases many other related faith practices.’” Barna states, “Millennials are seeking life-shaping relationships, vocational discipleship, are drawn to serve, and desire more of Jesus.”2

The world offers an infinite array of exciting fun, activities, distractions, and diversions. The church, in an attempt to attract attendees, oftentimes tries to offer a vast array of activity options. Realistically, church activities are not the answer. Jesus is the only answer the world is searching for. The church is supposed to be the place where the lost can go to connect with the love of Christ and to encounter more of His living Presence. In searching the Scriptures and the research, however, the bottom line is that activities are not creating disciples who love the Lord and others with their whole heart, soul, mind, and strength. It’s all about His love living in and flowing through His sons and daughters on behalf of those needing to encounter Him.

It’s time to raise up a generation who are all-in for a discipleship journey of being laborers of love, in the midst of a broken and lost harvest that is plentiful. Our Heavenly Father is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow, but we do know there are different seasons in our lives and for the body of Christ (Ecclesiastes 3:1-14). In that way, as believers we can look ahead with the hope of Christ in us to navigate in a new way that looks much different than we have in the past (Isaiah 43:18-21 AMP, “Do not remember the former things, Or ponder the things of the past. “Listen carefully, I am about to do a new thing, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even put a road in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert. “The beasts of the field will honor Me, Jackals and ostriches, Because I have given waters in the wilderness And rivers in the desert, To give drink to My people, My chosen. “The people whom I formed for Myself Will make known My praise.”)

This generation needs to possess an intimate personal relationship with the living God, i.e. with the Word that is “living and active and full of power [making it operative, energizing, and effective]; sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating as far as the division of the soul and spirit [the completeness of a person], and of both joints and marrow [the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and judging the very thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12 AMP). This generation has been created and called to know intimately their identity in Christ, the Word, and how to recognize and fervently obey the leading of Holy Spirit. It is vitally important they learn how to press into worship and prayer, and how to BE vessels of His supernatural love to a hurting world. The few hours per week spent in church on Wednesdays or Sundays, if attendance is even regular, must be focused on awakening these truths. Equipping their spiritual lives – their spirits – is paramount in the times in which we live.

Jesus exhorted His disciples to “Leave the children alone, and do not forbid them from coming to Me; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14 AMP). Jesus instructed the children in the exactly the same time, place, and manner as He instructed the adults. I am thankful and blessed someone responded to Jesus’ instruction, and took the time to lead me into an intimate relationship with my Heavenly Father, His Son, my Savior, Lord, and King, and with Holy Spirit, “the Spirit of Truth who guides us into all the truth [full and complete truth], and does not speak on His own initiative, but He speaks whatever He hears [from the Father—the message regarding the Son], and He discloses to us what is to come [in the future]” (John 16:13 AMP).

We are called to be in the world and not of it. Jesus is worthy of a multigenerational, multicultural Bride who has set herself apart solely as His and His purposes on the Earth as it is in Heaven…wholehearted, 24/7…all-in. It is through this lens I passionately seek to be His vessel of preparing this generation for such a time as this. This is the heartbeat and calling of my Heavenly Father on my life. All glory to Him as His Body co-labors as His hands and feet in the lovingkindness of Him who first loved us!!!

  1. http://www.christiancoachingcenter.org/index.php/russ-rainey/coachingchurch2/
  2. https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=barna+trends+2017