This past week our family took a trip to the nearby zoo to have a fun, family day. While we were there we went to an animal demonstration show. One of the animals they had out was a Harris's Hawk. This bird was absolutely beautiful and skilled. The hawk flew around the amphitheater and showed off it's amazing agility. The trainers shared a fact about that bird that blew me away....In that moment, God used a bird to speak to me! Here's the fact:

The mature Harris's Hawk will hunt down it's prey, kill it, and then take it back to let the young hawks eat first. Do you get that? The mature hawk will do the hard work, gather the resources and provide for the weaker, less agile, less equipped, less experienced juvenile hawks to ensure their health and survival. As a result, the endangered species does it's own hard work to ensure it will survive. That is incredible!

Here's what I heard God say to me. "That's what my church should look like." The church should be full of mature and capable believers who are willing to provide whatever it takes to ensure the survival of the young, less experienced, less equipped, upcoming generations so the church will survive. The mature believers should give up their privileges, their preferences and their comforts in order to invest in the next generation. The mature believers should be willing to do the hard work, provide the resources and money to train up the next generation to do the same. That's how we ensure that the church doesn't become an endangered species. 

The reality is that a majority of churches have become endangered species in their own right. They have forgotten to invest heavily into the the upcoming generation of believers. The older believers and church members have invested so heavily in their own preferences, wants, desires, styles and conveniences; and have neglected the survival of their mission and their calling. The mature in any well evolved, well equipped, well functioning and healthy organization or community give up their rights first for the needs of the coming generation.

The need of our coming generation hasn't changed...It's the GOSPEL! In order for us to appeal to the coming generation and have a place to share the Gospel we must let our preferences and wants die. The older generations must be willing to sacrifice on musical style, sacrifice on traditional structure, give room for casual dress and be willing to see the style and approach of the local church change. The mature must be willing to encounter the  people the world sees as unlovely, uncommon, unreligious and untraditional. The mature believers must be willing to love the younger, newer believer without condemnation as they learn, they grow and they mess up! The mature generation of believers must be willing to work hard, give much, sacrifice beyond words and love without boundaries those who are being born, growing and learning. 

Otherwise, the only thing we ensure is that the next generation will carry on an empty legacy without ever valuing their greatest need...the Gospel! If we don't demonstrate unconditional love, sacrifice and investment....How will the next generation ever understand the Gospel. That's living like Jesus...