The Next Generation

I am very encouraged as I consider the next generation and the impact that they can have on the church and on the area of worship.

Some specific things that are encouraging:

1. Interest in theology

At our worship camp this summer at Cedarville University, we had over 60 students enrolled. We had many electives to choose from including guitar, bass, video in worship, etc. However, our most attended classes were the theology classes, with over half of the camp attending. We had to bring in extra chairs because the demand was so high. This was a pleasant surprise.

2. Interest in hymns

Every one of our worship bands at worship camp selected at least one hymn as a part of their three-song worship set. While there were many other songs to choose from, all could see the value and content that a hymn brought to their set. It seems that this generation longs for the depth that hymns can provide.

3. Passion for others

This week, I had a parade of five freshmen students in my office for an impromptu meeting. It was a little intimidating as they processed in, one after the other.  I expected some kind of complaint or attempted coup.  However, it was just the exact opposite. They wanted to share with me their desire to do missions.  For them, it didn’t matter if it was an exotic international destination or an intercity ministry experience.  They just wanted to share their love for Christ.

4. Passion in worship

This generation has sincere and passionate worship.  I love to be in the midst of a group of young people passionately singing their hearts out to God.

In conclusion, the future of worship can be very bright if our young people continue to stay passionate for God, true to His word, and willing to sing the praises of the one who has called them from darkness into marvelous light.  (1 Peter 2:9)

6 comments to The Next Generation

  • Eric M. Stigall

    This is very encouraging looking at going into teaching worship and getting further education in the field that people (kids) continue to have a passion to learn. The four points listed about Passion for theology, interest in hymns etc… were interesting especially the interest in hymns! I am a huge fan of hymns as everyone knows ;) and think they have great biblical truth in them! Seeing people younger than myself worshipping through old hymns of the church is always very encouraging to me. Finally, one of my goals in life is to always be a life long learner and theology is a huge field that many things can be learned in… especially worship. Continuing to further one’s education in their field is always important… so on that note it was really cool to hear that the kids were interested in theology classes. I love the quote by Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.” There is no greater joy than being educated in what we are eventually going to be doing for all of eternity… Worshipping the Lord.

  • Jordan Redfield

    I agree with and am encouraged by all of these points as well! There will always be faithful worshipers of God who worship in spirit and in truth, and I don’t think that will change in this coming generation. This is why it’s so important to have solid, biblically grounded and Spirit-led worship leaders in our churches though; so that this generation can experience the beauty of authentic worship and have that passion and energy for worship be fed and deepened.
    Another thought I have is based on the missions trip concept, and why it is such a good idea. Especially for those who have not had the opportunity to do something like it already, it would be an invaluable experience. Having been incredibly blessed to spend a month in Africa this summer, I saw God use His church in a global way that completely shattered walls I had built up regarding what worship is and what it can be…walls I didn’t even realize were there. It challenged me to be a more complete worshiper of God, and fueled a passion in me to see more of God’s work around the world in His church. If the points Dr. O made here are cultivated and continually powered by the spirit and consistently broadened by experiencing worship in the worldwide church in beautiful and diverse ways, the potential is incredibly exciting.

  • Dani

    For the most part, I am deeply encouraged by this post! It is incredible to see and to hear about the willingness of our brothers and sisters to serve the Lord whole heartily. With that being said, I have been thinking through this very topic and have some thoughts of my own. I hate to be “THAT PERSON”, but I can foresee a potential danger within our generation as worship leaders if we are not careful. Music, although important in the worship process, is often elevated beyond its rightful place. In many churches it has been observed that the music ministry has taken over corporate worship and people know of no worship apart from music, lighting, and sound systems. Although I am greatly encouraged by the “passion” of our upcoming generation, I am also alarmed by all the complexities our worship services require. I have witnessed much of the busyness, chaos and stress in preparing all the “cool stuff” for service, and have been intentionally thinking through the repercussions, if any, of their priority within our Church, and more specifically within our worship. The Bible is our sufficient and infallible guide in all matters of faith and conduct, and this is certainly true with regard to how we should worship God-in Spirit and Truth. I believe that the job of worship leaders is to raise the affections of the people we lead to the highest possible height with the TRUTH of the worthiness of God in and through the songs that we sing. Not through the emotional moment we have created by the lights and sounds we experience. If we completely fail to exalt and center the character, holiness, and majesty of God, the music solely becomes self-serving. All of this to say, we just need to be mindful, and more importantly intentional in keeping Christ as the forefront and center of all we do. We have been created in the likeness of our Heavenly Father, in that we have creative minds. I know we have been given the freedom to use our creativity! My prayer is that we would, as a generation, be so enamored by God Himself that everything else would just fall second in comparison to our King.

  • Isaac Murrell

    This is definitely encouraging to hear on many levels! First, if this generation continues in these passions and desires, it will be exciting to see how the church will grow and strengthen in the coming years. It would be such a blessing to see the next generation after ours heed the call to continue building on top of our generation’s work to disciple others, not only in worship, but to make the good news known to everyone. If this next generation follows through, then there will be gas in the tank when I’m gone; that would be an affirming feeling. This also makes me think what a blessing and privilege it will be to hopefully disciple and be an example to some if I am in worship ministry. In all, its exciting to see the passion for theology and gaining understanding and how that should be and needs to be connected to worship. The church needs to sing with understanding and let the Word of God dwell in them richly. Seeing churches grow in this will be an awesome thing, which should spill over into many people hearing the good news and accepting it! SO PUMPED about this!

  • Jason Carnegis

    All four points are very encouraging to hear as a worship major. I think that it is very important for our generation to have passion for what we do and to remember the important foundations of our worship, such as hymns and theology. It gives my heart great joy to see that there are still bright spots in our generation who really want to further the kingdom of God and to use their talents to bring glory to Him. Revivals start with individuals making the right choices and encouraging one another to stay strong in their faith and to share that with everyone around them. I think God is doing amazing things at Cedarville and He will use us all in a specific way to further His kingdom. Our churches need this current generation to rise up and lead the charge so to speak. I think it is awesome that some students want to do missions work that is very encouraging. I pray that God will raise up worship leaders who will challenge their churches and lead them well alongside the lead pastor. I am very encouraged to hear about the passions our generation has.

  • Hayden Bradley

    All of these points are very encouraging to me. As a worship leader sometimes people believe you are in it only for the glory but in all reality we are worshiping God just like everyone else. I do believe some people in the world would rather have glory but when you bring up these facts then it is encouraging for all of us. As long as we keep our minds on God and not glory we will have a wonderful life.