The Apostle James states that “as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” The model he offers, to feed faith with works, should compel every Christian to consistently live his or her life with unwavering acts of compassion. Works coming from the heart are the essential life-givers in our walk of faith.
Aglow International’s Generations Project is all about mobilizing and releasing young people to move into such vibrant expressions of faith. The goal of the Generations Project is to help young women ages eighteen to thirty-five to develop leadership skills as they plan to enter the workplace or the mission field, empowering them to become influential leaders in their community. The vision is that they become God’s kingdom on earth in the darkest parts of the world.
As a pioneer in equipping women to serve and lead, Aglow has ministered to women and guided them into leadership for forty years. One key to our model for restoring and releasing women is mobilizing indigenous women to mentor younger women in their nation. Aglow’s worldwide network in more than 170 nations now includes more than 200,000 women involved in over 4,600 local fellowship groups.
In 2006, Aglow began to act on the need to encourage and empower young women in their spiritual life. They took on the challenge that wherever a woman’s career or life endeavors took her, it was imperative that younger Christian women today understand the outworking of their faith in society. We sought to connect young women with Aglow’s already extensive humanitarian outreaches, such as care for HIV/AIDS orphans and families, prison ministry, and disaster relief work—the kinds of hands-on “faith feeding” of which James speaks.
Aglow had the spiritual maturity and the practical resources, but the question was how to connect. We needed to mobilize the younger generation to take worldwide opportunities to grow and serve. That connection began the Generations Project.
Young people want to be a part of change in the world. It is no longer enough for them to grow spiritually without seeing the works Jesus proclaimed would follow those who believe. Signs and wonders are a huge part, but in addition, Jesus said, “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven” (Matthew 16:19). We need to take this authority Christ has given us and use it to change our society.
The Generations Project is calling young people not only to establish righteousness in their nations by serving in places of influence, but to take on problems in their communities: homelessness, foster care, littering, visiting the elderly.
Generations around the World
Today, Generations groups are being established in rural villages, college campuses, and workplaces in nine nations, including Argentina, Armenia, American Samoa, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, the United States, and Uruguay. The groups, designed by women in their own cities and towns, are meant to reach the specific and intricate needs of their communities. We want to release each group to do things that work best in their nation and walk out the vision that God has given them.
In Brazil, for example, young Aglow women from the Conquerors’ Generations group visit a women’s prison every two months, reaching out to the ninety-five inmates with the love of God. The young Aglow women have been a tremendous blessing to these women who suffer from very crowded conditions and are emotionally, physically, and spiritually hungry.
The Generations young people in Brazil have already held two conferences and are continually starting groups which are doubling in size each year. One of their goals is to show young people the difference between religiosity and true spirituality.
In Zimbabwe, a nation plagued by both political and humanitarian struggles, one 12-member Generations group is carrying the vision of the Generations Project by visiting all of the Aglow groups in the nation to energize, connect, and inspire both older and younger women.
Some 1,400 people attended the Zimbabwe National Conference in May 2007; more than 360 gave their lives to Christ there. The chiefs who attended the conference were so moved that they granted Aglow Zimbabwe free access into Hwedza, a rural constituency of Zimbabwe whose people are under extreme economic hardship, most lacking even basic electricity. Even so, in August 2007, thirty-nine women from Aglow Hwedza travelled to Maun, Botswana, to support their Aglow sisters there.
American Samoa recently began a Generations group in Pago Pago. Their evangelistic fervor is palpable as they seek to win souls for the Lord. Their expressed desire is for the young people who are saved to gain a passion for the lost, causing them to act upon their newfound faith.
In Armenia, Aglow received affiliation papers for a Kids Aglow group in February 2008, which is now affiliated under the Generations Project. Their leader, 10-year-old Christiana, is mentored by her mother and the Aglow women around her. She and her friends started the group because they needed a place for Bible study and prayer. In addition to praying for the ministry of Aglow, the children also collect offerings to directly impact the work in their country.
In the United States, Generations women are being trained as hope coaches through speaker Dawson McAllister’s “DMLive” nationally-syndicated call-in radio show. During the show, teenagers and young adults call to discuss life's deepest issues, such as broken families, abuse and depression. Hope coaches follow up with teen callers one-on-one to lend a compassionate ear to their area of need, as well as to provide support and guidance.
The Generations Project sees international students as one of the greatest opportunities for Christians to minister to the world around them. Over 500,000 international students come to the US alone every year. Unfortunately, many of them leave with an unsavory taste toward the country and toward Christianity. Could history have been different if someone like you or me had reached out to a young international student in the US named Khalid Sheikh Mohammed? He is known as the chief architect of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.
Walking Together Generation to Generation
We must begin to think in a new way and start walking together generation to generation, whatever our denomination, nationality, or culture, to bring God’s kingdom to earth. We are here for the sole purpose of seeing God advance in the earth. To do that successfully, we must play a pivotal role in our communities. We must be the teachers, the friends, the co-workers, and the mediators; for if we don’t, how will the world know the love of Christ? Each generation must answer the call of James 2:26 and activate their faith with practical acts of compassion. When we do this, we will indelibly impact our families, communities, and nations.
Then the king will say to those on his right hand, “Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you took me in; I was naked and you clothed me; I was sick and you visited me; I was in prison and you came to me.” (Matthew 25:34-36)