Here to Stay – Discipleship and the Generations

How do we help others to be “Here2Stay”, when there are so many reasons for “them2go.” The world is to be explored. The “prodigal story” is alive and well in 2015. In Western Society in particular the world is their oyster, and we have been taught that we are our own “destiny makers.” As a mother, a pastor, a friend and motivator I am constantly searching for a way to encourage others to walk closely with God and make Him the centre of their life, their whole life long.

Tammy Tolman is a writer, church leader and connector. You can find out more about the here2stay idea at their website. Tammy also writes here

I have been privileged to talk with over 500 leaders throughout Australia in the last month and I was encouraged to hear these key words resonant with many of the leaders. If we are going to help our people be “here2stay” we need to re-think what discipleship looks like. Imagine if everything we did or said came from a foundation of creating a culture of discipleship? Of seeing discipleship as “Lifelong faith formation.” What would that look like? What could that look like? I think it would look a little like what Jesus did with those He walked with.


  • Lifelong – There is no age limit. The only best time to start is at -1 and the best time to stop is when we are passed.
  • Intentional – We need to be focused with the end in mind, and make every moment matter.
  • Relational – Deep Authentic Relationships take time, love, acceptance, listening and sharing.
  • Holistic – We need to re-think our silos in our personal lives and with others. In every aspect of life our tendency is to segment, isolate, specialise as we make our destiny. It is not the way we were created by our Maker.
  • Environments – When we change our language from “Programs” to “Environments” we start to re-think how to use time and resources to create spaces where faith formation can occur.
  • The Generations – We are part of a much bigger story. Our story becomes much more real and valid when we are colliding with the generations.
  • Do Life Together –A journey with others, a joint passion, a story shared.

I know the road is narrow and for “them2go” will always be an easier wide road to travel. But I do believe we are still called to be the voice in the wilderness to call them “here2stay.” God longs for a lifelong relationship with us all, and as our true destiny maker His design for us all is the best.

So our only response is to start somewhere.

Let me finish with a story of hope I have found when you fight for the ideals I’ve outlined.It was a simple Passover meal, in a home where all ages gathered to eat, drink, laugh, be together, but mostly to remember. It doesn’t have to be complex, taxing on the few. Everyone brings something to add to the table. But it does have to be intentional. All ages were there, and over the past 9 years an environment has been created where there is genuine love and acceptance.

After the simple meal of lamb, hummus, koftas, Lebanese bread and salad we move to the lounge area. We huddle into a smaller space and don’t mind being all on top of each other and with 40 candles ablaze we recount together the things that Jesus said on the night He ate with his friends, 2000 years ago. He said “how I have longed to share with you this meal tonight.” As I looked around the room with the people I get to do life with, I felt those strong emotions for different reasons.

I know Jesus was about to do something very difficult, but I know Jesus also said those words out of deep love for those in the room that had become his family. I felt “that there is nowhere I would rather be right now.”As all ages shared a truth of Jesus, there was loving silence most when Sophie, one of our youngest stood to read very softly and seriously “Ï am the way the truth and the life” and she put out one of the candles. And then one of our elderly stood to read her statement and couldn’t help but do a little skip of pure joy and say “praise God” as God’s love oozes out of her as she puts out another candle.

On and on we go till there is one candle left. All focused and centered on that candle as we are remember the 39 lashes, the one off 40, which is a death sentence and the final candle that represents Jesus and the price he paid for us. We remember, we pray, we worship as we huddle together in a room 2000 years later.

We finished and I expected then many would leave. Even though there was Baklava to be eaten, with the range of young families, older couples, teenagers and empty nesters there on the eve of the Easter long weekend, surely once the formalities are over it would be time to split. I thought it would be time for “them2go” but no one would leave. They were “here2stay.” In fact the noise of the talk was so loud at times I could hardly hear myself speak. All ages, laughing and telling stories together, and it wasn’t the men in one corner, the woman in another and the teens on their devices in the other corner. It was real conversation, all ages mixed up. An environment was created where all ages could collide. It was beautiful. It was a night to remember, an experience to anchor us all to each other and to Jesus.
Sure it was just one night, 12 days ago, but it was enough to know that we will continue to do whatever it takes to create these environments for our people to be “here2stay.” Is it that crazy to think it is possible? Jesus created an experience to anchor us all 2000 years ago and we still remember it today. What will it take? What are we called to do or stop doing to see this happen for the people we are called to walk with? How can we create environments where people will be “here2stay” in lifelong discipleship with Jesus and each other till we meet our savior again?

These key words have given us a language and a foundation to re-think and change the way we do Church with the sole desire that our people would be “here2stay.” There are no guarantees, but I know that those who are willing to walk this journey together are “here2stay.”