What’s the Big Deal About Generations?

Being a disciple of Jesus is an important New Testament theme. Jesus Himself talked about the importance of following Him. The apostle Paul carried that theme out in many of his writings to the early churches.

What does that mean for us today? What purpose do we serve in God’s plan for His Kingdom? For The Navigators, part of the answer can be found in what we believe to be our calling from God:

To advance the Gospel of Jesus and His
Kingdom into the nations through spiritual
generations of laborers living and discipling
among the lost.

All of us as followers of Jesus are called to pass on our spiritual heritage to others. But what’s the big deal about “generations of laborers”? Why is it significant for advancing the Gospel of Jesus and His Kingdom?

There are more than 150 biblical references to generations. As you read through the Scriptures, you pick up a sense of history, of permanence, of the passing on of truth and tradition throughout time. And some passages reveal why the concept of generations is so crucial.

“Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past. Ask your father and he will tell you, your elders, and they will explain to you” (Deuteronomy 32:7). God clearly communicates that we are part of something larger—that existed long before we did—that was passed down to us.

Generations also extend into the future. “His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation” (Luke 1:50). We are part of something that God is doing now—that will continue long after we are gone.

And yet, generations are not automatic. “After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10).

Jesus didn’t just preach the truth in the temple. “He appointed twelve that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach” (Mark 3:14). He took his disciples with Him to ensure they understood His message, and could pass it on.

Paul didn’t just teach in the synagogues and town squares. He took Timothy with him—training him to follow Jesus and teach others. “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2).

The Navigators founder, Dawson Trotman commented that the Gospel spread to the known world during the first century without the benefit of mass media because the early disciples “produced men who were reproducing”—producing spiritual generations of disciples who passed on their spiritual heritage and trained others to do the same.

That’s why helping to establish ”spiritual generations of laborers” is such a big deal. We hope you sense the passion and commitment behind the stories you’ll read in the following pages and be encouraged to invest your life in future generations of disciples as well.

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