Have you ever prayed a prayer over and over, with deep sincerity, asking God for something specific? I have. This past year, I’ve been asking God to show Himself to the next generation—that they would see, hear, know and experience the deep love of God and the miracle-working power of Jesus; that their faith would grow and be steadfast and unwavering; that they would stand strong and not be shaken. What I didn’t realize was that God would use us—my husband and I—to model faith and complete trust to a younger generation as we embarked on an unexpected health journey. Cancer was found to be attacking my husband’s body. The immediate emotional response was shock and surprise, as he was not sick and had no symptoms. Some of our youth had seen him regularly working out at the gym. He was in great shape but needed the Lord’s intervention. Our church congregation began to pray for my husband, their pastor.
We went from one test to another, meeting with specialists and a surgeon. But through it all, a deep peace settled in that God was in control and was about to write a new chapter in our life story—one that would be “read” by the next generation as they journeyed closely with us through uncharted and unexpected waters. Together, we called out to God as the One in charge of the process and the details. Phrases from worship songs became declarations that flowed in and out of every conversation, whether at the grocery store, the gym, in our neighbourhood or during our times of church worship.
“I see the evidence of Your goodness
All over my life.”1
All is at rest
I know the author of tomorrow has ordered my steps
So this is my story
And this is my song (amen)
I'm praising my risen King and Savior all the day long
I trust in God
The one who will never fail
He will never fail
I sought the Lord and He heard and He answered
That’s why I trust Him.”2
“Can you imagine with all the faith in the room
What the Lord can do?
It’s gonna happen, just let the Way Maker through
He’s gonna move.
Anything is possible.
Who am I to deny what the Lord can do?”3
As I write, we are waiting on a pathology report. But we also wait on God, and rest in the instruction in Psalm 46:10 that says, “Be still, and know.” We hold to the promise in John 10:10 that tells us the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus comes to give life, and to the full. We place our focus on Jehoshaphat’s experience in 2 Chronicles 20, knowing that the battle is not ours, but God’s. He fights for us. As we stand firm, He is the One who delivers. We are not to be afraid or discouraged—the same God who promised Jehoshaphat that He would be with him, is also with us now.
God is using a negative circumstance to build positive faith in a younger generation. We are seeing it! As individuals and families, young and old, unite in prayer and fasting, a sense of unity is evident. We are standing on the promises of God’s Word in uncertain times. Transparent and authentic conversations can be heard describing how God is showing up day to day. Testimonies of His goodness are being declared. And an overwhelming peace guards hearts and minds even as unexpected news is received. God is at work.
You don’t always realize that others are watching and listening and having their faith strengthened and shaped through simple times of interaction. But it becomes apparent as messages of encouragement are texted, worship songs are sent, prayers are prayed, and simple texts from a younger generation are received saying “I am praying for you today. I know God’s got this!”
As I reflect on years spent in children’s ministries, this season of personal challenge is one that excites me more than ever. I’ve been praying very intentionally that this next generation would experience God in greater ways than ever before and that their faith would be steadfast—unshakable. I can see Him raising up worshippers, those who desire to be involved in ministry and mission right where God has them, and where He may call them to. Boldness is evident as faith is declared, whether in the baptismal tank, at the gym, or from a public platform. I can’t wait to see all that God has ahead. May our prayers for this generation never diminish. Pray for a faith that is strong, unwavering, and a generation that will be world shapers, taking the Good News of Jesus where it still needs to go. Because they can, and because we must.
Introducing Leann Woelk
I am grateful for years of opportunity to fulfil God’s calling, both locally and nationally, pouring into children and those who lead them. And I am honoured to welcome Leann Woelk as she steps into a national role with Mission Canada as co-ordinator of our Mission Canada Children’s Guiding Group. She also embarks on being a mission worker in our Next Gen Children priority in The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC) family. Leann comes with experience as a district children’s ministry specialist. She has also worked alongside and coached leaders at the local church level. Her heart for children and family and seeing the next generation reached and discipled for Christ is evident from your first conversation with her! She has a strong desire to see today’s children raised up to be Bible-based, Spirit-empowered disciples of Christ.
Please welcome Leann into this role and lend your support and prayers for her and our next generation.
Natalie Rogge has served as the Mission Canada Next Gen Children’s co-ordinator since 2006. Her passion for impacting the next generation has been seen over the past 30+ years in and through her ministry involvement in the local church and at a national and international level in our PAOC family.
This article appeared in the October/November/December 2023 issue of testimony/Enrich, a quarterly publication of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. © 2023 The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Photo © istockphoto.com.
- “Evidence,” Spotify, track 2 on Josh Baldwin, Evidence, Bethel Music, 2020.
- “Trust in God,” featuring Chris Brown, Spotify, track 3 on Elevation Worship, CAN YOU IMAGINE? Provident Music Group, 2023.
- “More Than Able,” featuring Chandler Moore & Tiffany Hudson, Spotify, track 2 on Elevation Worship, CAN YOU IMAGINE? Provident Music Group, 2023.