To the ³gen x² generation‹³Friend, move up higher.² This is the Lord¹s cry for us right now. ³Friend, move up higher. I am killing the stronghold of Œrelevancy¹ over you. This is a curse over your generation that has kept many of you from flying in your true selves. Break free in Me. I am ready to give you a new level of sitting at the feast‹you are no longer the cynical generation sitting at the edges of the supper table. I love you and I call you Exquisite Namers; I love your subtlety and cleverness. I made you as one of the mighty generations that would express Me in ways the earth had never heard before. You will be remembered! Now I call you out from under the curse. Ask your elders for forgiveness; you have needed them. They need you to come out from your closets so that they can receive fresh vision and hope‹for you are the hope that they prayed forŠ I am about to pour out on them a greater release of My spirit, which is greater than what they felt during their youth. And you are needed to help father and mother the generation that comes behind you, which admires you and though I have great plans for them, I need you to live out your dreams. Friend, it¹s time to start over. I am giving you a new start‹a new job for me. It is the one I wanted to give you all along.²
RELEVANCY. This is a cultural philosophy that entered the global church during the 80s, and it is crippling an entire generation of leaders: the Gen-X generation. ³To be RELEVANT² has become the battle-cry of our generation and God says this is the season that we bury it as a label. Oh guys, we bought it hook line and sinker. We trudged around in our Œreality bites¹ boots and it took many of us until our 30s to know who we were. But our Father is so merciful; He is replacing the steel-toe boots with princely slippers. He is asking us to reconsider gold. We thought we were the silver-wearing generation but now He is asking, are we willing to trade our dulled costumes for the radiance of the kingdom.
My generation, the original Gen X-ers, are those who came into their 20s and 30s during the early 1990s. Many of us came under this system of thinking ³relevant² about ourselves‹in our spirituality and culture, in our ministries and jobs. Because of our unique identity as seers and namers‹as a prophetic generation‹the enemy prophesied over us in the original Generation X novel in the 1960s that we would be the apathetic and materialistic generation. This was a lie but the Lord is breaking this off us even now. That we came to accept the name of ³X² itself was a horrible curse over us. We are not nothing, but the something that was and is to name others. What we saw was not supposed to jade us, but to cause us to name the powerful currents around us. ³Tales of an accelerated generation² is how Douglas Coupland subtitled his famous Gen X book‹let¹s receive that we came as an acceleration of the kingdom. We were never called to be relevant but to be unique deposits of freedom and expression in the world around us. The Father is asking us to put the idol of relevancy on the altar.
So many of us‹looking for a new expression of church life, trying to find our way in a world that offered what seemed to us a limited palate of options for careers and ministry‹either reacted by running from the church in anger, or by coming under a false ceiling of expression in the name of religious activity. The Father never intended us to become Goth so we could ³reach Goths.² In our fear of homogeneity we actually created homogenized ministry! But much of the Gen-X ministry philosophy was infused with this kind of thinking‹that we had to disguise ourselves in the clothes of the culture we wanted to save. Unfortunately, many Gen-x church leaders lost their own identity in the process. God never asked us to change who we were to reach out to others. By doing this we limited His Spirit, who intended the very expressions of our generation to saturate the world around us with His light. We also didn¹t trust Him that He is the one who draws all to the Father.
In our desire to be relevant, we reveal still our own need for the affirmation of world. The ³hey, look, I¹m cool enough and still a Christian‹dontcha wanna come to church?² kind of lifestyle shows how much we are still both angry with the church for not being ³cool² and at the same time begging the popular kids to tell us we¹re included, to tell us we¹re not the eccentric generation, the entrepreneurial artists and thinkers that we are. The generation that is coming after us doesn¹t suffer from this weakness, but they look up to us and need us. He is so merciful; He is making something new for us in the place that relevancy has thrived. If you don¹t have a heart for the poor, He is not forcing it in you. If you don¹t have a heart for skate punks, He is not asking you to. If you don¹t feel drawn toward coffeehouses, He is not asking you to start a coffeehouse. We do not reach people by trying to be relevant to them. Jesus is always relevant. He is asking us to express the fullness of our generation. Amen? Yay! He will overflow our hearts with love for all people; and the Jesus in us will leap out to them. The cry in them will leap toward us. Can we handle it? Yes!
To be the first postmodern generation‹which we are!‹means that He made us with an incredible sense of self-awareness, a willingness to try on different costumes, an ability to synthesize global cultures, and most importantly the very ability to name generations. It was His intention that we prophesy over the generations before us and help to name the one coming after us.
To those who left the church, He is saying, ³My arms are open. Come fly with me‹I have heard your anger and you need the arms of the body again. It is safe to come; you will not lose your identity.²
To those who stayed, ³It is time for a change, and this is no small revolution. Give me your hands. You have only let wind in your hands, and this has borne fruit, but now I am sending wind into your whole being. Let me the Wind into your heart. I am not just action to do, but the very breath of life. I am about to empower your whole expression to live My Life. You have permission to be yourself!²
Let¹s hear the Father¹s permission to our hearts.
Jesus, Jesus, again, I am so sorry for having run away. I am sorry that I missed out on all your gifts you intended. I was one of the ones who got frustrated; and then I thought I had to change my uniqueness to be halfway spiritual. I am sorry for resisting you‹out of fear. I want nothing but fear of you. Hollow us out, Lord. Give us back as gifts to the Father. We give you the stronghold of relevancy. Break off the cynicism from us, the disbelief. Help us. We bless the Jesus-people generation! They are our friends, but also our elders. We bless them. Thank you Lord for the kinds of places they set up for people to come to know you. Thank you for using them to give us the gifts of your Spirit, which they threw out so abundantly. Thank you Lord for them charismaticsŠ ha ha! Thank you for their adventurousness, for the fire that you put on them. Lord, restore the fire to them! Restore fire to the Jesus-Movement generation. They are not old and out of the game. We need them; we need them to lift out of their homes and come once again to the fields of your harvest.