Core Value #6 – Intergenerational

Intergenerational: When God’s Kingdom is present, generations are brought together, not separated. We will seek to create opportunities where the various generations can interact and serve together.
The world uses labels and differences to wedge gaps and create factions among people. These differences are often used to create the illusion of superiority and inferiority. Differences become obstacles and barriers to relationships. The gospel shatters these obstacles and barriers, but it doesn’t do it by dismissing the differences. It does it by bringing those differences under one head – King Jesus. Having Jesus in common supersedes any differences we may have. Jesus is glorified, not our differences.

Out of Touch

One of the differences that divides us is age. In culture, youth is often considered good and becoming older is considered bad. Pridefully, young people feel old(er) people are out of touch and old(er) people feel the same. Truth is, both are right.

We miss out on an aspect of the uniting power of the gospel (despite our differences) when we primarily experience Jesus with people who are like us. We are all somewhat “out of touch” when we aren’t living in community with people who have gone before us and those who are coming behind us. This makes sense given that the Christian faith is handed down from one generation to the other (2 Timothy 1:5). Multiple generations must be present in order for this to happen. Not only must they be present, but they must engage one another (Titus 2).

Many Ages, One Savior

The church by definition is intergenerational. It spans across all ages (also race, class, culture, and gender). The church must (and should) look different than the world. The gospel is actively bringing all people together. When the church functions primarily in an age segregated fashion, we mirror the world and preach an anti-gospel. Differences become an opportunity for the gospel to be displayed, not an obstacle. People of all ages worshipping and uniting under King Jesus displays the reality and power of the gospel.

From Shared Room, to Shared Lives

It’s possible for generations to gather in the same sanctuary and sit in the same rooms, but never share their lives for one another. If intergenerational ministry is going to happen, it will not happen by accident. There must be an intentional individual and congregational effort where all groups value and embrace the responsibility of intergenerational relationships.

We want our children and students in position where they serve one another and serve alongside older Christians. It’s good for older Christians to see a generation coming behind them. It’s good for older Christians to grow in godliness as they practice patience and forbearance with younger people. It’s good for them to build relationships and pass down wisdom from successes as well as failures. It’s not one-sided though…

Students, the church in waiting?

Students are not the church of tomorrow; they are the church of today. Sure, we deal with students in an individual way (as we do other groups) when it comes to some discipleship areas. Why? Because we try to meet people where they are. That requires a level of contexualition when it comes to ministry.

However, we also deal with students like anyone else in the congregation. When the church gathers as a whole to worship, students don’t pull off the the side and have their “own” worship service. Students are part of the church, therefore, they worship with the church. It’s healthy that they see people older than them model true, biblical worship. It’s good for them to see families, young and old, worship together. It’s a healthy thing that youth know older saints well enough to mourn when they are called home to be with the Lord. This can only happen when the church models the Kingdom and generations share their lives with one another.

This requires consistent evaluation because we naturally gravitate towards likeness, what is easier, and more comfortable. This is why we keep this value before us. Sin is actively pulling the generations apart, while the gospel is reconciling all things back to Christ. To him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. – (Eph. 3:21)
Here is a helpful article for further reading:

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/why-the-church-needs-intergenerational-friendships