Today in the Church we have a generation of sons with father wounds preaching a Son-centered theology, leading churches as brothers rather than fathers, lacking spiritual moms and dads, and attracting people who bring their own family wounds and who want the church to be family minus the presence of any kind of older fatherly or motherly leadership. Add to that a lack of wise governance, and the pin is pulled from the grenade.
Bringing healing to this issue might just be the key for an entire generation, removing the demonic foothold brought by bitterness instigated by brokenness. Healing will only happen when sons and daughters can forgive failed fathers. Add to that an openhearted anticipation of the good things that can happen when we choose to become good sons and daughters rather than simply demanding that others be perfect parents, whether biological or spiritual.
Healing also requires the participation of godly older leaders who understand the unique needs of this generation. Many weren’t parented, leaving gaps in their life learning. The biggest thing they can give hurting younger men and women is relentlessly patient love. However, if elders force this approach on the next generation, more damage will inevitably ensue because the young will misinterpret the forced intervention as abusive spiritual parenting.
Younger brothers and sisters need space to invite spiritual fathering and mothering if and when they are ready to heal. We all bring hurt, either big or small, into our relationships with our families and church families if we do not allow the Father to heal our father wounds. When we parent home or minister at church out of our own hurt, we are more likely to cause the people we care about pain. It is vital that if you have a father wound, you take the time to heal so God can change your life and legacy.
A Third Turning
We believe the Western church is on the brink of a third turning. The baby boomer generation wanted to take the church from their parents and make it more practical and accessible.
Generation X wanted to plant their own churches and set up their own families due to their father wounds and unwillingness to have healthy older spiritual fathers and mothers in their midst.
The Millennial generation is most concerned about marriage and parenting, according to a national research group. They do not want to take the church away from older people or leave the church to form a church with younger people but instead to have an intergenerational church that functions as a healthy family. This could lead to a strengthening of struggling churches and allow the church of Jesus Christ to fill the needs left by divorce and broken homes where generations no longer do life together.
We believe this insight might be crucial for the next season of church life. Older generations have an opportunity to be life-giving sources for emerging leaders who have a hunger where our generation had a hurt.
This article was adapted from Win Your War: Fight in the Realm You Don’t See For Freedom in the One You Do (Oct. 2019) by Mark and Grace Driscoll.
Mark Driscoll has been preaching through books of the Bible as a senior pastor and husband of Grace for more than two decades. He has authored over a dozen books, including Spirit-Filled Jesus and Who Do You Think You Are? Pastor Mark has a bachelor’s in speech and a master’s in exegetical theology, and he is one of the most respected and downloaded Bible teachers of his generation.
Grace Driscoll has been in ministry her entire life as a pastor’s daughter and then a pastor’s wife. She is the mother of five children, all walking with Jesus and serving at The Trinity Church, which they planted as a family ministry. She coauthored Real Marriage and oversees the Flourish women’s ministry. Her public relations degree was put to use when she joined Mark talking about Jesus on The View, Fox and Friends, and Loveline.