”What are you doing to reach the next generation?”
”What are you doing to reach the next generation?” This was the penetrating question posed to me recently at a lunch meeting with a dear friend of Derek Prince Ministries. I had told him that because he is a contributor to DPM, we are accountable to him. Therefore, he had the right to ask us anything he wished. He certainly took me up on my offer!
Not only is the question a pivotal one for the future of DPM — it is also a very important matter for each of us to consider personally. What am I doing to make an impact on generations to come?
This subject is highly significant for us as we close out 2015 and move into 2016. Maybe the Lord has been pressing this theme into your awareness as well. Let’s take a few minutes together to address this very compelling issue of reaching future generations.
An Urgent Matter
Long before my friend asked his pointed question, all of us associated with DPM worldwide have been addressing the urgency of this matter. In fact, only a few days prior to my meeting with him, I had finished a thorough study of the word “generation” in Scripture. Some of the citations are somber and shocking, like the one about iniquity being visited upon the third and fourth generations (Exodus 34:7). Or the verses about stubborn generations (Psalm 78:8); generations of wrath (Jeremiah 7:29); generations who insist upon going astray (Psalm 95:10); or evil, crooked and perverse generations (Deuteronomy 32:5, 20; Philippians 2:15).
On a more positive note, other verses cite God’s covenant faithfulness that extends for a thousand generations (Deuteronomy 7:9); to all generations (Psalms 89:1); to chosen generations like us (1 Peter 2:9).
But one passage I discovered that succinctly addresses our mandate to reach the next generations is Psalm 71:17, 18: “O God, You have taught me from my youth; and to this day I declare Your wondrous works. Now also when I am old and gray-headed (can you relate?), O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.”
A Strong Priority
You could probably join me in testifying to the profound personal impact of Derek Prince’s ministry. I credit much of the strength and stability in my Christian life today to Derek’s solid teaching. Therefore, a major priority for the worldwide work of Derek Prince Ministries is to see the impact extended “…to everyone who is to come.” If we fail in our efforts to touch succeeding generations, we will have missed a key opportunity in God.
That is why we have given high priority to connecting with future generations. Here is the burning question that has motivated our focus upon Generation X (ages 35-50), Millennials/Generation Y (ages 20-35), as well as college and high school students: Will they have the same opportunity to receive Derek’s teaching as we did at their age?
To address this question, we are marshalling a significant portion of DPM-USA’s current efforts, as well as partnering with numerous organizations whose goal is ministry to young people and to the generations that are to come.
A Reflection of Derek’s Heart
This same focus was near and dear to Derek Prince’s heart, as I experienced firsthand. I met Derek when I was 22 and he was 56. By rights, he should have ignored me until I was a little older and more mature. Instead, Derek took an active interest in allowing me to work with him and relate to him. (The same was true of my father-in-law, Don Basham — and I know my relationship with Don helped my connection with Derek to grow so strong.)
I was one of many from my age group with whom Derek related very closely. He actively reached out to the “hippie” generation — somewhat because Derek identified personally with those folks, considering himself a “hippie” before that term was ever used.
In my letter from a few months ago, I cited Derek’s heartfelt comment about future generations taken from Father God, a recently published booklet. I believe that if we could transmit this message to them [about coming to know God as their loving Father], there would be a tremendous response. I believe there are millions of young people just milling around — lost, confused, perplexed — because they don’t know the Father.
Out of his longing to see future generations come to know God the Father, Derek himself became a spiritual father to many young people — myself included. Seeing his example, will we accept and pursue this same sense of responsibility for generations to come? Here are a few points Derek made on this vital topic in a message called “Human Fatherhood — Spiritual” from his series on “Knowing God as Father.”
What makes a spiritual father?
First of all, he is a life source. (I’ve learned that I was a life source to people I didn’t even know.)
Secondly, we impart what we are, not what we say. There are spiritual genes. (It’s more than mere words.)
Third, we must know the Father in His eternal nature. We can’t reproduce a father whom we don’t know.
Fourth, it takes death to release life. (The only people who can minister life are the people who have experienced a death of self.)
What are the results of spiritual fatherhood?
I think they’re exactly the same as the results of successful natural fatherhood. They are security and maturity. There is no other route I know to get there. A person who has a good father image and relationship is basically a secure person — whether it is in the natural or in the spiritual. It takes fatherhood to bring maturity.
A Generation Who Seeks Him
One more insight beyond what Derek shared, and then we will pray.
These thoughts from Psalm 24 came from my recent study of the word “generation,” and I hope they encourage you. Psalm 24 begins with God’s sovereignty — a declaration that the earth and all it contains belongs to Him as Founder and Creator of the universe. The next section tells us who can stand in God’s holy place — those who have clean hands and pure hearts of integrity before Him. Regarding these people, Psalm 24:6 says: “This [such] is the generation of those who seek Him, who seek Your face.” Can you identify yourself with that generation?
If so, it will inspire you to see the last three verses of this psalm — about opening ourselves up for the King of Glory to come in. What is the point? The reward you and I receive for being a generation who seeks the Lord is that we get to see the King in all His wonder. The King of Glory will reveal Himself to us as such a generation!
Once you and I receive the revelation of His glory, we have the responsibility — regardless of our age — to pass it along. It is our legacy to the generations who follow after us.
Count Me In!
Does Derek’s quote — along with this last insight — make you long to be one who seeks His face and passes along your legacy? Why not let the Lord know your desire to be part of the generation described in Psalm 24? Let’s do that right now with the following prayer:
Lord, count me in! I take my place with the generation of all those who seek You. I open every door of my heart, soul and mind to You — the King of Glory.
Also, Lord, I want to pledge that I will invest myself in future generations. I will fulfill the mandate to communicate Your goodness and faithfulness to those younger than myself. As Psalm 71:18 says, “I will declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to all who are to come.”
Just as Derek modeled the example of committing himself in love to coming generations, I offer myself now to do the same. I am Yours, O Lord. Use me to fulfill this important task. Amen.
Some Practical Applications
I believe the Lord has taken note of what you and I just prayed — and I believe He will take us up on our commitment to reach out to “… all those who are to come.” Are you ready to take action on what we have just prayed?
I told you earlier that we are taking steps at DPM to reach younger generations. Along with initiatives of our own, we are also working cooperatively with other organizations reaching these age groups. Over the last few years, DPM has been a partner in numerous events and conferences targeted toward young people — supplying large amounts of free materials and participating as speakers and workers in these events. There are plans for many more outreaches in the future — and DPM will be there with donated materials and staff members to help.
One of the ways you can be involved with us in these initiatives is through your continuing prayers and contributions. Due to your generosity, many young people are being touched — experiencing the dynamic impact of Derek’s teaching upon their lives. We are exploring innovative ways to make that happen — and you are a vital part of that outreach.
Honoring Derek’s Memory
In this year of celebrating what would have been Derek’s 100th birthday (August 14, 1915—August 14, 2015), we want to thank you for being involved with DPM. Even though twelve years have elapsed since Derek’s passing, the impact of his teaching legacy is growing exponentially. DPM’s outreach is expanding all around the world. Your prayers and contributions are making that possible, and we are grateful to you.
Thank you for praying with us to express your personal commitment to future generations. We welcome your participation in our outreach to them. As we close this year of celebrating Derek’s 100th “birthday,” what would be a fitting tribute? You may desire to honor the impact of Derek’s teaching upon your own life through a special contribution to the ministry that bears his name. We would be honored to receive it. In a similar vein, you may feel moved by the theme of this letter to sow a seed of hope and faith — an investment in outreach to future generations. That would be a welcome gift as well.
To express our thanks for your generosity, it is our pleasure to offer a free copy of the message on spiritual fatherhood from which we took Derek’s earlier quote. It’s our way of telling you how grateful we are for your partnership with us.
What will you and I do in the days ahead to reach the generations to come? Can we partner together in strategic efforts to supply Derek’s teaching material to young people? As we end this year and begin a new one, let’s be faithful to the mandate of Psalm 71:18: “I declare Your strength to this generation, Your power to everyone who is to come.”
All the best,
P.S. Thank you again for your generous friendship. Please let us know how we can be of further service to you — and don’t forget to click here to download your free gift of Derek’s message on spiritual fatherhood. It will encourage you!
Materials used by kind permission of Derek Prince Ministries.