“Many of my generation have fallen away from their faith, feeling bruised. We need the older generation to help us, carry us and not drop us.”
Every few years, the Pentecostal World Fellowship chooses a country to host their event. In 2019, they chose to hold it in Canada. I remember sitting with our PAOC general superintendent, David Wells, over coffee a couple of years ago. He shared his heart with me, and with tears streaming down his face, encouraged me that the younger generation must not give up. He asked me to be one of the speakers for the conference, and in that moment, I knew in my heart God was up to something.
When the time came to share my message, I knew I had to talk about reconciliation between the older and younger generations. I skateboarded out to welcome the audience, and started off by saying, “We can’t do healthy and effective evangelism unless we include the next generation.” I wanted to remind all of us that we need one another — that we needed to be on the same team and work together.
In 2 Samuel 9, the Bible shares the story of how Mephibosheth met David. To give a bit of back story, King Saul had a son named Jonathan whose best friend was David. They made a covenant together the last time they hung out before they had to say goodbye. The promise they made to each other was that they would watch out for each other and take care of each other’s families.
As the years went on, Jonathan had a son. There was division in Israel and both King Saul and Jonathan died. This caused a panic, so the babysitter who was taking care of Mephibosheth quickly picked him up and carried him away, trying to protect him. But as they were running and trying to hide, she dropped him. He fell on his feet and became crippled. Imagine how hard it must have been for Mephibosheth to grow up with this physical and emotional pain. He probably struggled with anger, sadness, confusion and anxiety as he hid in fear for his life, far away in a small town. I think that the younger generation feels like Mephibosheth at times.
Often, they feel hurt and like they are separated from God their Father. They talk about feeling misunderstood and forgotten. There are many labels that people have put on us, such as being lazy, narcissistic, and selfish. Many of my generation have fallen away from their faith, feeling bruised. We need the older generation to help us, carry us and not drop us.
As you fast forward in reading the story, King David remembered his good friend Jonathan and asked if he had any family. As soon as David found out that Jonathan did indeed have family, he invited Mephibosheth to come over to his palace. I love how David invited Mephibosheth to come sit at his dinner table with him — welcoming him to become a son and be part of his family even in Mephibosheth’s brokenness.
Sure, my generation is a bit messy and we have a lot to work on — but I am so thankful for the leaders who welcome us as we are. Even as I spent time with the leaders at the conference, I noticed that they were all so welcoming towards my brother and I. I felt like they really did believe in us. Firsthand, I saw demonstrated what it’s like to believe in the next generation and to have received that belief. I felt cared for and loved by them.
When King David showed kindness to Mephibosheth, he invited him to come and sit at his dinner table. He adopted him into his family. The Bible says, “From that time on, Mephibosheth ate regularly at David’s table, like one of the king’s own sons” (2 Samuel 9:11, NLT). That’s what God our Father does with us. We need to continue to accept others into the church family as well.
So now I am asking you: will you be like King David? In the same way that he asked Jonathan to take care of his children and as he promised to be there for his family—will you do the same? We need people who will raise their hands to God the Father and promise to take care of His children.
In life, we are running a race—and it feels like my generation sometimes gets stuck. We might run for a bit, then pause or give up and go back. That’s why we need the older generation. But the truth is, they need us, too. In my talk, I showed a movie clip of a runner who got weak and tired at the end of a race. His older brother came up behind him and started to help him jog. As they got closer to the finish line, the older brother pushed his younger brother over the finish line so he could finish the race ahead of him. Isn’t that a beautiful picture of what God’s kingdom is like? We are meant to push others further than we ourselves can go.
As we came off stage, we were greeted by many leaders who came up to us with hugs, tears, and prayers. It was a powerful moment. We felt as though something significant happened that morning in the spiritual realm.
That day my brother and I had hours of non-stop conversations as leaders kept coming up to us to talk about the message. I felt the Holy Spirit whisper to me and say, “Don’t stop having these conversations … because this is actually really important right now. Keep connecting with these leaders. By them coming up to you, they are able to process how they want to change with you.”
God showed me how important it was for us to have the personal face-to-face conversations, where we were saying “thank you” and “sorry” to each other. We were able to encourage each other and cheer each other on.
So, I leave you with this: we need one another. Don’t give up on us. Get in our corner. Let us into yours and let’s see what can happen when we join hearts and hands to see God’s kingdom move. It could be world-shifting.
Laura Bronson is the founder and director of “Keep It Real,” a ministry of Youth For Christ - Canada, where Laura is part of the national staff team. Laura loves to minister to the next generation and point youth to Jesus through the use of graffiti, music, skateboarding, breakdancing, videos, speaking and fashion.
This article appeared in the January/February/March 2020 issue of testimony/Enrich, a quarterly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2020 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Photos courtesy Laura Bronson. Photo above by Mikael Jägerskog.