“Ralph Is A Much Older Man…”

by | Nov 29, 2012 | Church Leadership, Church Planting

Bumped into an interesting experience on a trip to Sydney, Australia that points toward the role of one generation supporting the next as we take the gospel to the nations.

Had a great time with some very nice people but one thing caught my attention—I was described as “A much older man.” Truth is, “I am,” or at least I’m in the process.

One of my friends emailed me that these young guys had described me as an old guy on their website. He sent the email as a joke. Well, being the vain person that I am, I went to the site and found some very nice things they had to say about me. If I weren’t so humble I’d send you a link to their site.

The person who wrote the blurb was advertising an evening I would spend with about 30 young guns who are in process of launching new churches. His point was that while there are several strong new church planting movements growing in the world, none have the experience of several generations of churches multiplied. In other words, the “older man” thing was a compliment. I’ve been around the block and learned some things along the way.

While it is true that my bones creak in the mornings it is also true that a certain amount of wisdom comes along with age on your body. Experience is a beautiful thing, which brings me to the sadder part of this little story.

Just prior to jumping on the plane for Oz I was informed that one of my oldest friends and strongest disciples had announced to his wife and church that he was throwing them over for a younger woman. Needless to say, I took that as a personal kick in the gut.

Worse, the guy was scheduled to travel with us on this trip, so the Aussies noticed his absence. In the interest of openness, I shared what had happened as a part of the seminar—I did it with purpose . . .

I wanted those men and women to realize that there will be failures along the way, including moral failures. Also wanted to point out that this man’s sin in no way negates the good he did prior to taking a fall. Finally, I wanted them to know that I know that the sun will still rise tomorrow morning—the world goes on. It is in times like this that the experience of years helps a person to understand both the faithfulness of God and the indestructible nature of his Kingdom.

We’ve been over this bridge before and may cross this way again sometime in the future. But we are not and will not be defeated. My former disciple’s church and family are standing strong. They will prevail. Unfortunately, some outside those immediately involved are offering comfort without requiring repentance. They anger me because they are actually working against repentance. But we’ll get through that as well.

Years can be destructive to our bodies, but in most ways they are good to our hearts. I know because I am “A much older man . . .”

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