I love the line from Robert Murray M’Cheyne: “What your people need from you most is your own personal holiness.” I’ve given that advice to others dozens of times, and I’ve repeated it to myself a hundred times. Almost my whole philosophy of ministry is summed up in M’Cheyne’s words. My congregation needs me to be humble before they need me to be smart. They need me to be honest more than they need me to be a dynamic leader. They need me to be teachable more than they need me teach at conferences. If your walk matches your talk, if your faith costs you something, if being a Christian is more than a cultural garb, they will listen to you.
Paul told young Timothy to keep a close watch on his life and his doctrine (1 Tim. 4:16). “Persist in this,” he said, “for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.” Far too much ministry today is undertaken without any concern for holiness. We’ve found that changing the way we do church is easier than changing the way we are. We’ve found that we are not sufficiently unlike anyone else to garner notice, so we’ve attempted to become just like everyone else instead. Today’s young people do not want a cultural Christianity that fits in like a Baptist church in Texas. They want a conspicuous Christianity that changes lives and transforms communities. Maybe we would make more progress in reaching the next generation, if we were making more progress in holiness (1 Tim. 4:15).
Wise Words On Reaching the Next Generation & Ours
Kevin DeYoung, over at The Gospel Coalition Blog, has been sharing an excellent series on how we reach the next generation. In this post, "Hold Them With Holiness," Kevin uses 2 Peter 1:5-8, to stress the importance of a pastor and other believer's personal holiness in reaching the next generation.