For those of you who are seen as elders in the Church, either by age or assignment, you offer a significant gift to those who are just beginning their journey of faith. That gift is the hope and possibility of a future. You live in age and experience several decades ahead of these younger ones. They see you on the other side of their current struggle. They know you made it and that is what will draw them to you as a voice of encouragement. One of the most powerful and encouraging things you can say to a younger person who comes to you for counsel and wisdom is this, “If I made it this far, so can you.”
These inquisitive ones know you have struggled through some challenging seasons of life. They know you did not do everything perfectly. Honest mentors do not offer perfection. They offer hope. Hope helps a younger man or woman take a step of faith into an unexplored future knowing you will be there to understand and encourage them when their foot lands in an unfamiliar place.
The future a younger generation wants to experience is the kind of future they see you currently living. They know you got here because you responded in obedience to a word from the Lord. As you stand in your current moment, it is seen as the future to those who are just beginning. Because you are modeling emotional and spiritual health, your life has become a living encouragement for people to keep believing and moving forward.
If you are an elder in the faith make sure you continue to live in the same way that brought you this far. Age does not determine your impact in God’s Kingdom. You have chosen to not “arrive” at a static place. Your willing heart and the continued exercise of a courageous faith is what is drawing the younger ones who want to hang around your example of how to live their lives. By the honest model of your life, you have created trust equity in the emerging generations. Your presence has become a living word of hope. That is the gift you are releasing - the hope of a future.