Three Mindset Shifts to Raise Generations

  • In NEWS
  • March 24, 2021
Three Mindset Shifts to Raise Generations

By Pastor Tan Seow How, Senior Pastor & Founder of the Heart of God Church Singapore


Intergenerational leadership will not happen without raising up next generations. At Heart of God Church (HOGC) Singapore, it is our crusade to champion young people. For the past two decades, the average age of our congregation has remained the same, 22 years old with over 80% of members serving at church. Now we are running towards a new vision: lowering the average age to 21 years. Yes, it is not easy, but God calls us to raise generations. Let us not just think locally or globally but think generationally. Christianity is just one generation away from extinction. So, should we not win every generation in our nation for Christ?


Here are three practical mindset shifts that are crucial to raise generations:


1.     Youth are leaders today, not just tomorrow


Many people enthusiastically agree that youth are leaders for tomorrow, but how about today? In order to champion young people, we need to let them lead right now. We have to let our teenagers lead and serve God. If we wait, the world will get them. The world will give them a vision that is not building the Kingdom of God.


There is a boy named Wei Ze who came to HOGC when he was 10 years old. He wanted to play drums at church, but he was too small and could not reach the pedals. Did our church wait for him to grow up? No. We gave him another option instead: to play the bass guitar. After 11 years, he is now one of the church’s main bassists. He also became the youngest worship team leader and a pastoral leader of 50 people. So, let us not wait until tomorrow. If we do not get the youth today, we will lose them. Their lack in experiences can be made up with training, mentoring and inspiring exposures.


When we give chances for youth to lead today, we can see how their ingenious minds work in amazing ways. There is a group of youth at HOGC who broadcasted their small group meeting through Instagram live during the Covid-19 pandemic and a remarkable number of 2,500 unique viewers came to watch. What a creative idea that came from the youth leaders! Proverbs 22:6 says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” So, why wait? Youth are leaders today.


2.     This is our home


Traditionally, how the unchurched approach church is through these 3 steps: believe – become – belong. The unchurched have to believe before they become Christian and only then they can be the church member. For the young generation, it is the other way around. The 3 steps for them are belong – believe – become. First, they need the sense of belonging before believing in Christ and gradually become disciples. That is why building a church that feels like a home for young people is very important.


There is a young boy named Jessel who grew up in a family with financial struggles. He always felt inferior and insecure. One day, a church member brought him to HOCG and Jessel decided to give his life to Jesus. Since then, he spent most of the time at church because he felt at home. He did not have to go back to an empty house or to eat dinner alone. His best friends are at church and they also serve together. Jessel felt loved, believed in and equipped at church. He really loves his spiritual home and gives his best to build it, from talents to tithes.


Building a young and strong church is not just about Sunday services or stage performances. It is not just about revivals or youth conferences. It is about building a home where young people feel loved and secured.


3.     Generations are reinforcements, not replacements


“Those from among you shall build the old waste places; You shall raise up the foundations of many generations…” – Isaiah 58:12a


When we talk about generations, a lot of people may only think of succession: an older leader retiring and a younger leader takes over. Generations are not successions. Successions are too slow and too late. Generations are about having many layers of leaders at the same time. Generations are reinforcements, not replacements.


At HOGC, we have raised multiple layers of leaders over 6 generations by starting a new youth group every few years. After a youth group’s members grew up and became older, we went back down to reach out to the younger generation. We brought the previous generation back with us to lead the next generation. In the ministries, when the previous generation were still in the frontline serving, the younger generation would come along to serve as reinforcement. This is how we raise up multiple layers of leaders at the same time.


With this, I encourage all of you, AEA members, to go and grow your churches younger and stronger. God bless you!


First published in the December 2020 issue of the Asian Evangelical Alliance Newsletter:

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