The Next Generation

20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though I myself am not under the law) so that I might win those under the law. 21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law) so that I might win those outside the law. 22 To the weak I became weak, so that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that I might by all means save some. 23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings.

1 Corinthians 9: 20-23

Ready for a little discernment? Time to figure out which of the crew from Star Trek: The Next Generation you are. (If you want a “real” quiz, I suggest heading over to Buzzfeed. And if you haven’t ever watched the show…check out CBS All Access).


(Starting from the backrow, left)

  1. Guinan. She’s a very old alien bartender who is a good listener with a lot of folk wisdom.
  2. Dr. Beverly Krusher. A passionate doctor who will fight for those under her care.
  3. Worf. First full-time Klingon in Starfleet. He values honor and is in charge of security for the ship.
  4. Deanna Troi. She is an empath and the ship’s counselor. She can sense your emotions and help you with your issues.
  5. Wesley Krusher. Young, brilliant, and really goofy.
  6. (front row) Geordi Laforge. Sees the world in a unique way. Understands the inner workings of the ship better than anyone.
  7. Captain Jean Luc Picard. The wise captain. Able to lead, motivate and listen to his crew. Great in a pinch.
  8. Commander Will Riker. Tough, capable right hand man to Picard. straight-laced, but accessible to others.
  9. Lt. Commander Data. He is stronger, faster, and more intelligent than just about anybody. A little lacking on the wisdom and emotion departments.

So, what do you think? Who do you most resemble? Leave a comment and share who and why!

Now let me tell you why I’ve been thinking about this. Lately I’ve been in full Captain mode, trying to steer a congregation through the murky waters of this Covid time. I’m a senior pastor, but not really the type to bark out orders or solve unsolvable problems. I like to lead, but being a captain can wear me out!

I’m really more the Deanna Troi type. Empathetic, good at guiding, more of a shepherd type than a captain type. I like to pick up the “vibe” in a room and work from there. But lately I haven’t had that many to “vibe” with!

What about you? Are circumstances forcing you into a roll that isn’t you first choice? Difficult times may require us to step into different uniforms. Maybe you’ve had to step out of your maroon Starfleet duds and into a yellow uniform instead (or perhaps a green bodysuit!).

There are lots of roles we may have to play along the way. Some more than others. Sometimes I’m the bright goofy kid. Other times I’m fighting for the least of these under my care. Occasionally, I’ve even been known to make a show of honor in the face of an enemy.

If the church needs the wisdom of Solomon, I can dig down to my inner Guinan. If the church needs data, I can access my memory banks and be Data for a time. I may not be at the top of my game, but I’m still willing to play the part. It may be hard, but if the need is there, I can try.

My point is — maybe you’re having to spend time and energy taking on a part you’d never have auditioned for, but that doesn’t mean you can’t succeed at it. The more you live into the role, the more comfortable you may become. If needed, you can be Data, or Worf, or Wesley, and still be you.

All that said, as things proceed and hopefully settle down, you may find yourself back in a more comfortable uniform, putting your energy into the role you feel you were born to play. Paul took on lots of roles to relate to people, but at the end of the day, he played the Apostle role best of all.

God needs flexibility from all of us as we traverse this Covid and post-Covid world. We are the Next Generation of Christians, and the Holy Spirit inspires and guides our crew as we grow in discipleship.

So if circumstances call you to be the Captain for a while, don’t worry, you’ll do fine. Just say a prayer for guidance, chart a course for people who need to receive God’s love, and utter the three magic words:

“Make It So”

Have a great week,


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