Why We Must Be Intentionally Intergenerational in Ministry


It was only a five-minute encounter. But that brief meeting changed my life.

I've written before about Dr. Charles Green and what I now know was our divine appointment. It happened when his son Michael and I, both 17-year-old high school seniors, made a quick stop by the Word of Faith Temple. Our choir would soon sing in the church's huge auditorium, and our music teacher sent us to work out a performance detail.

I'd heard of Green's effective ministry with high school students. But I didn't expect a busy pastor to notice me, much less stop and speak to me.

I don't remember just what he said. I do remember that the words of life he spoke over me blossomed in my salvation two years later. They also grew within me the same desire he had to impact generations.

I spent many years replicating Green's impact in the young souls God sent my way. We shared life, love, laughter and a whole lot of my wife's shrimp etouffee and jambalaya.

But I also had the opportunity to speak words of life and to share Spirit-birthed truths--to go call the next generation up higher by listening to them more than I spoke.

Years later, when Green and I had another divine encounter at the memorial service for Chancellor Oral Roberts at the University he founded under instructions from the Lord, I took time to thank him for the significant spiritual deposit he made on that day in his church. We continue to speak regularly, and he never fails to impart wisdom and stories only he could tell.

When I think back over my years in education, marketing, ministry and now publishing, I see how God has woven the call to reach, teach and impact the younger generation(s) throughout my life. My staff knows the Lord called me to Charisma to change lives, particularly of those in succeeding generations. And that's how I see Him using me every day. I'm called to speak life into the next generation.

Not long ago, I had the privilege of spending time with Apostles Craig and Colette Toach and their team of Next Gen Prophets. The Toaches have an international ministry of speaking, writing and hosting the Next Gen Prophets podcast on our network and their own prophetic training school. They pour their lives and hearts into equipping the next generation for kingdom ministry.

"As the Lord led us from country to country, and He opened the door slowly, the vision came into view, because it's progressive," Colette says. "Nobody decides this is what they're going to do. Nobody decides they're going to have a next-generation ministry until one day you wake up and you realize that all the steps you've taken in ministry have led to your answer to that question."

"God is bringing back the fullness of the fivefold ministry," she says. "And I see in each one of these new generations, not just a passion to want to belong, but to be part of a team; they get it: 'I can't do this solo anymore."

But the desire to impact coming generations doesn't arrive in the natural, she says. "Make no mistake—spiritual parenting is not a career choice—it's a mandate and call," she writes on their website at toach-ministries.org.

Craig adds another essential word about next-generation ministry: Character counts.

Of course, this idea of intergenerational impact has a powerful precedence in Scripture. As the apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, "You share the faith that first filled your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice. And I know that faith continues strong in you" (1 Tim. 1:5b, NLT).

Timothy's mother and grandmother invested in him, and the resulting fruit blessed Paul and impacted the nations. No doubt, that knowledge lay behind Paul's later word to the young pastor to "teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others" (2 Tim. 2:2b).

Do you have five minutes? Consider investing time in a young person. The next life you change could impact generations to come.

Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president of the multimedia group at Charisma Media and executive producer of the Charisma Podcast Network. His Charisma House book, Love Leads, shows that without love, you cannot be an effective leader. Sign up for his free "5 Things I Learned Last Week" and "Greenelines" newsletters, and download his Greenelines and At Work With God podcasts at greenelines.com.

This article was excerpted from the June-July issue of Charisma magazine. If you don't subscribe to Charisma, click here to get every issue delivered to your mailbox. During this time of change, your subscription is a vote of confidence for the kind of Spirit-filled content we offer. In the same way you would support a ministry with a donation, subscribing is your way to support Charisma. Also, we encourage you to give gift subscriptions at shop.charismamag.com, and share our articles on social media.

Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president—Media Group, Charisma Media. Sign up here for Dr. Greene's newsletters.

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