Then, there’s the strange story of the 100-year-old with a newborn. As a 75-year-old man, God called Abraham to leave home and journey to a new place that God would give him. He gave Abraham the promise of the next generations that would come through him. God was going to give him a son.
25 years later, Abraham was 100 years old and had tried to fulfill God’s promise by making something happen with Hagar the maid. Ishmael was born, but the promise was to come through Abraham and Sarah. Apparently God was not in a hurry nor limited by human weakness.
When we measure ourselves by our experience, our life stage and a sense of what’s proper and respectable, we may laugh off the very thing that God intends.
Ask Brian Danter, my 64-year-old brother-in-law. He is a youth pastor at his church. Ask Claudia’s uncle, who at 87-years-old is still travelling to India to do train leaders in remote areas to plant churches. Ask Marshall Ruthven, a man who planted 37 churches in Western Canada and USA and was still going door-to-door every day in his 80s telling people about Jesus. Ask my dad who has come out of retirement twice to pastor churches and continues to do so at 77-years-old with progressive vision and clarity.
You can laugh like Abraham or you can see that God gives dreams to old men, old women and old churches.
A church that is willing to dream again will live longer than its peers. A dreaming church that obeys God can surprise and shock the world with new life. A good question for Parkway Church on its 100th anniversary is, “What needs to happen to see this congregation celebrate its 200th anniversary?”
100 years ago, a group of people filled with the Spirit of God came together to live out their calling as a new generation church a few miles from Ottawa. These early Pentecostals built the house on four things:
1. Jesus saves
2. Jesus baptizes in the Holy Spirit
3. Jesus heals
4. Jesus is coming again
Who in the church today was alive 100 years ago? Who will be alive and part of this congregation in 100 years if it’s still in place?
Anyone in God’s family has the potential of becoming a 100-year-old parent. At any age, we must be willing to listen to God’s voice and take direction to a new time and place. God is always looking those who will a servant of the next generation. Each generation requires that previous generations facilitate their emergence. How are you serving the generations? If we look back at our history and what has been given to us, we must also look at what we have to pay forward.
This is the essence of what it means to be Pentecostal—developing a set of ears to hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church. And then, we move forward.