Elijah made many great contributions with his life, but perhaps the greatest was the contribution he made to the next generation. Elijah realized he was a link between the faith of the past and the faith of the future. He lived his life in such a way that his faith attracted the next generation rather than repelling them. We regard Elijah as great today in part because he helped others be great. Elijah realized that he was a part of the story of God and that what God was up to in the world was bigger than any one generation. Consequently Elijah made sure faith was pushed into the next generation.
1. How did your parents' generation affect your own faith? Did they have a positive or negative impact? Was there someone else from a previous generation whose faith impacted your own, positively or negatively?
2. Why is it important to know that the family isn't solely responsible for the faith of the next generation but also the Church? How did the church of your childhood attract or repel you from faith?
3. What are some ways that families can be intentional about persuading the next generation to embrace faith? What are some of the most common causes that distract families from investing in the faith of the next generation?
4. When faith is attractive there is no need for it to be coercive. When faith isn't attractive it always resorts to coercion. What are some ways families and church try to coerce the next generation into faith?
5. When you think about the future, what life do you want for your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren? What decisions can you begin to make today that will undergird rather than undermine that future?
6. Some people don't think they have anything to offer to the next generation. We all have pasts that can perhaps change the future of someone coming behind us. We all have scars that were painful but that if they were talked about could perhaps save someone else from the pain we endured. We all have stories of struggles that someone may find their faith or freedom just by hearing. If you could tell the next generation just a couple of things that they would embrace in order to grow their faith and enhance the quality and direction of their life, what would that be?
7. What should we learn about the increasing numbers of those walking away from faith? How can we help make sure the same doesn't happen to the generation coming behind us?
Parents — Develop a plan. Have conversations. Pray together. Model faith.
Members of Faith Community — Serve the next generation in our local church. Build relationships with them and invest into their life and faith.
Psalm 71:18 Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.