Moses and Joshua
I remember the beginning days of Tamán, the prayer ministry I oversee, when my team and I went through the Bible trying to find the perfect verse to shape our ministry culture. After going through a number of verses, God brought me back to my favorite person in the Bible, Moses, and Exodus 33:11…
So the Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. And he would return to the camp, but his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tabernacle. (NKJV)
We see Moses live in a constant state of seeking the Lord’s counsel throughout his leadership; what an example to the next generation. In the beginning of the chapter, it says that while the rest of the people stood in the entrances of their tents, young Joshua ventured into the tabernacle with Moses. Even when his leader, Moses, departed the tabernacle to look to the matters of the Israelites, Joshua didn´t depart. He went on to become one of the bravest leaders in the history of Israel and it all started because a great leader modeled the importance of seeking the Lord. Moses took Joshua to the very presence of God and inspired him to pursue God with wholeheartedness.
The Kingdom’s Pride and Joy
As I wrestled recently with my philosophy on what church and Christian community should look like, God provided a key learning moment. My good friend, who sings on a Tamán worship team, suddenly lost her babysitter and started bringing her kids, ages 5 and 8, to the prayer room. Two hours of prayer proves difficult for most adults at first, so I worried about unsupervised kids disrupting our peaceful prayer time. After all, as the director, I had to think about the comfort of the others in the prayer room, right? In much of church culture today, children are removed from more “serious” spiritual activities.
I decided to invite the kids to engage and actually go forward to pray in the microphone at times. As I studied scripture, Jesus took me to his reaction to children in Luke 18:15-17. Jesus called children the “kingdom’s pride and joy” (The Message). Yes, those two incredible kids who sat next to me drawing, and occasionally arguing with each other until I broke it up, are the “pride and joy” of the kingdom we are supposedly building for the Lord.
I watched as each week my friend showed up to the prayer room with her kids in tow. While she could have used the excuse of being a single, working mother, wanting to have her one free morning to get laundry done, she modeled the importance of seeking the Lord to her kids instead. Tamán only supplemented their nightly Bible time and her lessons on how to pray for the needs of the world. They brought their books, Barbie dolls, coloring books, action heroes, and Bibles to the prayer room. As they played and read during the two hours, you could sporadically hear their young voices singing out to God.
No one in the prayer room could keep a dry eye when the eight-year-old got up to pray for the kids of our city or a suffering nation, and started to sob. He passionately reminded God of the mighty deeds he had done for the Israelites or what he had spoken through the prophets of old and asked God to do it again in our day. The six-year-old made us all smile with her sincere and simple prayers to God that he would “blesseds” kids and families, or that Christians in the Middle East would not get their heads cut off anymore.
The younger generations in the Church desperately need the older generations to stay engaged and not retire from mentorship and modeling. Like Moses, who inspired his young assistant to actually know God, we need spiritual aunts, uncles, mothers and fathers and grandparents who commit to living out their faith shoulder-to-shoulder with the younger generations. The state of future generations requires today’s youth and young adults to put down their screens and start following their godly leaders into the presence of God. One day soon, the Joshuas will face the impenetrable wall of Jericho and have to tap into their history with God in the secret place to bravely lead the Church.
The process of integrating the different generations into our little prayer room team has shown me the beauty of God’s design for his Church. We have to start refusing to buy into the world’s lies that people in different stages and seasons of life can’t relate to us, or that they may make us uncomfortable. The Church can’t separate the strength of the youth from the wisdom of the elders and expect favorable results. Strength without wisdom produces hype and disillusionment, while wisdom without strength gets conceited and stagnates. Only through unified generations seeking the Lord together do our faith communities truly resemble the Kingdom of God.
Guest Contributor Joy Cassellius graduated from North Central University in Minneapolis with a degree in Youth Development Studies. She loves any excuse to host gatherings at her home and to eat street tacos late at night with her friends. A nomad at heart, she spends her free time planning her next trips, traveling, and writing about life as an adult Third Culture Kid (TCK). Joy currently lives in Mexico where she leads a House of Prayer.