Updated: Nov 4, 2019
The time for the big reveal of the brand new ministry focus I've been helping develop is coming soon at generationhero.org. Years in the making and with many ministry partners, this movement is as exciting as it gets- the church is truly living in unprecedented times.
Sociologists and authors William Strauss and Neil Howe developed the generational theory identifying four seasons within society and four correlating generational archetypes back in 1991 with their book Generations. In 1997 their book The Fourth Turning built on that research. To briefly summarize their work, they found that all societies go through four "turnings" or cycles- Highs, Awakenings, Unravelings and Crises. The timing can fluxuate somewhat, but these cycles are clearly observed in history and are utterly consistent in their pattern. What season a society happens to be in will determine what type of generation is born in that season due to socio-economic influences. The four corresponding generational archetypes are Prophets, Nomads, Heroes and Artists. Below is an excerpt summary of these archetypes and their most recent birth years:
Prophet Generation (1943-1960)
Prophet generations are born near the end of a crisis, during a time of rejuvenated community life and consensus around a new societal order. Prophets grow up as the increasingly indulged children of this post-crisis era, come of age as self-absorbed young crusaders of an awakening, focus on morals and principles in midlife, and emerge as elders guiding another crisis.
Nomad Generation (1961-1981)
Nomad generations are born during an awakening, a time of social ideals and spiritual agendas, when young adults are passionately attacking the established institutional order. Nomads grow up as under-protected children during this awakening, come of age as alienated, post-awakening adults, become pragmatic midlife leaders during a crisis, and age into resilient post-crisis elders.
Hero Generation (1982-2004)
Hero generations are born after an awakening, during an unraveling, a time of individual pragmatism, self-reliance, and laissez faire. Heroes grow up as increasingly protected post-awakening children, come of age as team-oriented young optimists during a crisis, emerge as energetic, overly-confident midlifers, and age into politically powerful elders attacked by another awakening.
Artist Generation (2005-present)
Artist generations are born after an unraveling, during a crisis, a time when great dangers cut down social and political complexity in favor of public consensus, aggressive institutions, and an ethic of personal sacrifice. Artists grow up overprotected by adults preoccupied with the crisis, come of age as the socialized and conformist young adults of a post-crisis world, break out as process-oriented midlife leaders during an awakening, and age into thoughtful post-awakening elders.
Why is any of this important and how does it relate to ministry? If you haven't watched the video of my leader, Fred Markert, presenting the crisis the world is heading into and how it affects Christianity, click here. In short, we are in the beginnings of a protracted "Crisis turning" which will lead to economic collapse and World War III. That's the bad news. The good news is that a Hero generation is upon us again and they have the potential to reach the world with the Gospel like no other generation before them. In fact, many estimate that if the church were to send just 500k new missionaries by 2025, the Great Commission could be completed in this generation. Never before has completion been within reach. While 500k might sound like a huge number, to put it in perspective, the church in America alone could easily do this by sending just 0.3% of its current church members strategically to the field. That's one-third of one percent!
America is not alone in the world, though we do carry an enormous amount of responsibility as the biggest and wealthiest church on the planet ("To whom much is given, much is required." -Luke 12:48). Sadly America is not carrying that responsibility very well as currently we rank #9 globally in missions sending per capita. The #1 nation (region) is actually Palestine- sending 3,401 missionaries per million church members compared to America's 614 per million. It's time for America to steward the resources God has given us- for we are blessed to be a blessing.
But the reality is, we are living in unprecedented times. The Holy Spirit has been unleashed upon the world in the last century unlike anything we've seen since the early church. Four times in scripture the timeline between Christ's ascension and 2nd coming is compared to pregnancy and birth pains- Mark 13:8, John 16:19-21, Romans 8:19-23 and 1st Thessalonians 5:1-3. This is important because of the escalation of events that occurs during the course of a pregnancy. It starts off very slow and inconspicuously, but gradually escalates to dramatic changes in the body and then further escalates to contractions. These first contractions are relatively minor and infrequent, but the closer to the time of birth it is, the more intense and frequent they become. This parallel can clearly be seen in history in both what the world (Satan) and God are doing. Just look at the 20th century- in that time we saw two World Wars, the collapse of the Islamic Caliphate (Ottoman Empire), an unprecedented outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the rebirth of Israel as a nation and more people coming to Christ than the rest of history combined! And the number of people coming to Jesus has only been escalating- the tail end of the 20th century was the most exciting. From 1970-2000, more people came to Christ than in the previous 1,970 years combined. Around the start of the 20th century only 1 in 27 people on the planet claimed Christianity. By the end of the 20th century, that number exploded to 1 in 3- growing from 60 million believers to over 2 billion.
We are only closer to Christ's return now, which means the contractions (world and spiritual events) can only get more intense and more frequent- are you starting to recognize the unprecedented season the church is in? Enter the Hero generation. Young people have always been the movers and shakers of Christianity, but now more than ever that will be the case. The Hero generation is unlike any other generation in its sheer potential and capacity for rising to an occasion. The last Hero generation the West produced did nothing less than conquer the Axis powers in World War II. This time around, while World War III may very well be on the horizon, it is a spiritual battle that we as the church are called to. So the vision of Generation Hero is to call, equip and launch this generation into a life of radical servanthood for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The time has come. The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest (Mat 9:37-38)!
While YWAM is initiating this movement, it is only thorugh the partnership with the entire body of Christ that we will see this come to pass. This fall, I will be leading the first Heroes DTS here in Colorado Springs, but that is just the starting point. From there we will be training and sending leaders to take the message and tools to churches and fellow Heroes around the world. Many influential churches, Christian colleges and organizations are already partnering with us to push this vision forward and I believe that influence, intesity and passion will only increase. In the late 19th century during the 2nd Wave of modern missions, over 100k young people were launched into the field in the Student Volunteer Movement. That movement could only draw from less than 60 million Christians while today we have roughly 2.3 billion- how many could we send now? This could be the final wave of missions- grab your spiritual surfboard and hang on, it's going to be a wild ride.
"And they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the word of their testimony, and they did not love their life even when faced with death." -Revelation 12:11