I just turned forty-four. I have preacher friends twenty-five years older than me and I have preacher friends who are twenty-five years younger than me. I am a middle aged preacher, caught between two other generations of preachers. The older generation thinks I have not spent enough time "in the fire". The younger generation thinks I am unable to understand the present culture. To some degree they are both correct. However in this post I want to deal with how the older preacher and the younger preacher communicate with one another. Lets consider 1 Timothy 5:1:
"Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren;"
I have witnessed and been guilty of showing disrespect to older men in the ministry. This type of behavior is shameful. Please understand I am not making reference to contending for the faith nor compromise. However there is room for discussion on certain matters and young preachers and older preachers should learn to be able to do this with maturity.
First: The young preacher needs to know, it is not their place to rebuke an older man of God.
Second: The older preacher must understand that they must not dismiss a younger man or belittle him, due to his youth or lack of experience. Respect is a two way street.
Third: The younger generation must understand "the trash" or "the smack" they talk with our peers, should not ever be used toward an elder, even in jest.
Fourth: The older preacher must know his sharp words a can do a lot of damage to a young preacher, who may look up to him.
I love older preachers. In fact most of my "heroes" are in Heaven. Men like Harold Sightler, Maze Jackson, Oliver B. Greene, and Curtis Hutson. I also love young preachers. I love to be around their zeal and thirst for the things of God. Generation gaps are real. However we all should strive to have Paul and Timothy relationships in the ministry.
"Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord." - 1 Timothy 1:2
"Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12
"Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee." 1 Timothy 4:16
"Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine." 1 Timothy 5:17
"Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil." 1 Timothy 3:6
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