The ‘Greater Works’ Generation

As a Baby Boomer Christian, I’ve been privileged to see some exciting moves of God’s Spirit. I came to Christ during the Jesus Movement, and then came the Charismatic Movement, the Church Growth Movement, the Apostolic Movement, the Prophetic Movement—and probably some other movements I’ve now forgotten about.

No wonder I’m feeling tired!

I was reflecting on all of this recently and said to the Lord, “I think I’ve already seen it all…”  This was a depressing thought, to say the least.

God seemed to pause before replying to my lament, but I could tell He wasn’t happy with my perspective. “Jim, if you BELIEVE you’ve already seen it all, then I guess you are right,” He chided me. “But if you had MY perspective, you would realize that you haven’t seen anything yet!”

The Lord then took me on a tour through the Scriptures, and I could see that, in each new generation, He had greater  things in mind than in the previous generation.

  • Moses was a fantastic leader, but it was left to the next generation, under Joshua, to enter the Promised Land (Joshua 1).
  • In 1 Samuel 18:7, the women sang, “Saul has slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands.”  But instead of being excited that God was raising up David and a new generation, King Saul was angry and jealous. David, in contrast, embraced  the fact that his young protégés would slay more giants than he had (2 Samuel 21:15-22).
  • After the illustrious ministry of Elijah, his young pupil Elisha surprised everyone by doing twice as many miracles. He had received a “double portion”  of the spirit that was on Elijah (2 Kings 2:9).
  • Instead of feeling threatened by the rising popularity of Jesus, John the Baptist declared, “He must increase, but I must decrease”  (John 3:30). What a great model of how we  should respond to God’s favor on the next generation.
  • Jesus told His disciples, “He who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father”  (John 14:12). Jesus wasn’t threatened by this fact—He was delighted.
  • Jesus’ original disciples like Peter and John had a powerful ministry in the early days of the church. But Paul’s impact arguably surpassed  them, as a new wave of the Spirit brought numerous Gentiles into the kingdom.

These Bible parallels bring us back to the situation today. When the Jesus Movement broke out in the late 1960s, the “old order” of church life was on the decline. New wineskins were needed, and God provided them in abundance.

But now the Baby Boomer churches are likewise on the decline. We once took pride in being on the cutting edge of God’s purposes, but now we are the old order. New wineskins are needed once again.

As Baby Boomer Christians, we have a choice to make. Will we embrace the new generation and believe God that they will accomplish “greater works”  than we have? Or will we be like King Saul, holding on to our own position and power—and missing out on the next move of God’s Spirit?