Young Christian men need older, seasoned, godly men in their lives. In the past year, I’ve been meeting regularly with an older, godly, seasoned man from my church. In addition to this, I’m in regular communication with one of the pastors because of my role in the Men’s Ministry. Who they are isn’t as important as the fact that they pour God’s grace into my life and are a tremendous encouragement to me. In this article, I want to convince and persuade you, young men, to find a godly older man to speak into your life.
Moses was a very busy man, after all he was leading Israel from bondage in Egypt to the Promised Land. He was leading a massive number of people. Moses needed his father-in-law (Exodus 18) to speak into his life, although he didn’t realize he needed it. And yet his father-in-law’s advice was timely. The same is true for us today. Young men, you need older men in your life. Don’t assume that you don’t need this, because if you think that you don’t, you are simply being prideful. Older, godly, seasoned men have much to impart to your life, not only knowledge of the Word of God, but also experience with God that they have gained through many trials and experiences. They also have life knowledge that you may one-day need. Don’t resist this knowledge and experience; heed their rebukes and be wise.
When I was a teenager, like most teenagers, I thought I knew everything. But at this time in my life, however, I realize that I don’t know everything. I resisted my parents’ instruction and was foolish, often even as I heeded other older men’s speaking into my life at my local church. Young men, we need older men in our lives for the simple purpose that they know more than we do. I don’t care if you’re like me and have a long list of titles after your name, or if you’re 30-40 years old, and have been in ministry for 10 plus years as I have. You still need older men in your life! I don’t care if you’ve been a Christian for the majority of your life, as I have been. I qualify under all those categories. I have multiple Masters Degrees and have been a Christian my entire life and I still need older men. I still have many areas where I need to grow. Young men, be humble—God uses humble men who are still repenting for His glory.
Thanking those who are godly and take the time to speak into our lives is so important. Not only is it important in terms of thanking them for how the Lord is using them, but it is another way of honoring our elders for their godly example. This is sadly an often neglected aspect of ministry towards the saints.
In 1 Corinthians 11:1 Paul tells the Corinthians to follow him as he follows Jesus. The Corinthians are to follow the apostolic pattern of life that Paul has set before them. We, as young men, need to follow the example of godly men who are farther along than us. As a young man, you may think you know everything, and I understand that feeling. You may think you know more about God than those who are older, and you may very well. Yet you still don’t know everything. People may come to you to ask for answers from the Bible and guidance for life all the time. If you’re like me you can answer dozens of questions about systematic theology and can rattle off the meaning to more doctrinal and theological words than you’ve experienced in your own life, yet you still have need for godly mentors. If you don’t think you do then you are misguided, arrogant, and prideful. In 1 Timothy 4:11-15 young men are told to make their progress evident to all. One way we do this is by being in submission to those who are older than us, especially to our pastors and elders who will have to give an account to the Chief Shepherd the Lord Jesus Christ.
To wrap up this article, please allow me, to summarize, a few points. First, be humble because of the grace you’ve received in and through Christ. You don’t know everything, and that’s okay. To acknowledge that you don’t know everything is to admit that you still have areas to learn and grow in; the word disciple, after all, means “learner”. We are to learn from Jesus and one another. This requires living in humble submission to Jesus and to those who are older and more seasoned than us.
Second, it requires that we minister from a place of neediness of God’s grace. Since humility is, as Augustine and Calvin said, the definition of the Christian life, it goes to reason that we have a great need for Jesus all the time. As Charles Spurgeon said, “I have a great need for Jesus. I have a great Christ for my need.” Jesus is what we need and He lives to make intercession for us at all times because He rules and reigns now, as our High Priest and Intercessor.
Finally, you need godly, older men because you need to live in community with God’s people. You need to see how these older men live their Christian lives. You need to consider the outcome of their doctrine and way of life. We live in a culture that devalues all of this, and I realize that the message of this article is countercultural, but it is biblical. You need Jesus and other godly, mature, seasoned men in your life. If you are serious about pursuing ministry of any kind, for any length of time in your life, I plead with you to consider what I’ve said in this article. If you want to last in ministry, you will need the counsel and friendship of older men. You need to learn now from their failures and their successes. You need to consider their doctrine and the patterns of life that flow from their doctrine. If you don’t, the consequences could be great and your faith will suffer.
Make no mistake, I’ve been a Christian since I was four years old. I’ve seen many, many Christian pastors and leaders come and go in the 30 years I’ve been a Christian. One way to avoid failing and destroying not only your life and ministry, but also the lives of many people around you, is to have older men speaking into your life.
Older men speaking into younger men’s lives is God’s pattern of ministry. Intergenerational ministry is not optional, it is God’s means of grace to you. It is a help to you; accept it, don’t fight against it. Gladly accept this means of grace in your life, rejoicing in the God who provides wisdom to you through the examples of godly men. Learn from them, seek them out and follow their pattern of life and doctrine as they follow Jesus. I plead with you, young man, to abandon your life of impurity and ungodliness, and consider the standard of God in His Word. Follow your leaders as they follow Jesus. Seek the Lord and His righteousness. Consider what the Bible has to say about true wisdom and how it is dispensed from the older to the younger. Consider how our God places people in your life; consider all He has said and you will see that God does use older men in powerful ways.
Older men, be gentle with the younger men in your local church; we need your rebukes and your love for Jesus. We need your wisdom, and most of all we desperately need your prayers. We are a generation that is hurting. We are the generation of the father-wound: those without fathers. Pray for us and love us with the love of Jesus. And, young men, as you heed the counsel of older godly men who have “been there and done that”, God will use you. Those who decrease are those who are growing in the grace of God. I believe the Lord will make these things plain to you, young men, who earnestly desire more of Jesus and less of yourselves. May the Lord richly bless you young man as you seek after His righteousness.