Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash
LEADING A CHURCH THAT POINTS TO THE GOD OF GENERATIONS
10 Jan 2023
Scriptural revelations of God transcend our imaginations.
Among these, the one that comes closest to the human experience is the God of the Generations, described as a covenantal and faithful across generations: God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the generations to come.
Each local church, being the Body of Jesus Christ, is meant to reflect God’s character & being. It should also be a community of faith of the Cross-Generations.
In fast-paced city societies, where movements and changes are the norm, and human worth is often measure by what works and what is seemingly practical. As a result, the Cross-Generation unit of society faces tremendous pressure. Both the very young and the old are often viewed with impatience as they are not as productive in work. Homogeneous congregations are often favoured because of their targeted focus and outreach potential. While these are true and need to be considered in leadership, we lose out on God’s character and purposes if we do not recapture the Cross-Generational dynamic in our church ministry.
The different generations may be left out of the core-drive of the church:
“We lose out on God’s character and purposes if we do not recapture the Cross-Generational dynamic in our church ministry.”
The older or previous generation may be left out as time passes. The drive for the “next gen” becomes the call that ignores the contribution of the elder, many of whom served God faithfully in their times.
The youths or younger are left out because they are not yet decision-makers. Their concerns, targets and hopes are put in the periphery because the core-driving generation may comprise mostly of young and working adults.
When the above happens, hearts and homes can then become places of strife and restlessness.
The rate of change and the introduction of the internet and digitalisation has caused sociologists to adjust the definition of a generation from the “former thirty years” to “five years now”. This means that someone who is twenty today will find it hard to connect with someone who is fifteen years old. Indeed, each generation is labelled by a different moniker, and often one refers to another disparagingly.
The world is also enamoured with the notion of progress and what is new is often celebrated while the old is deemed obsolete and even a hindrance. These tendencies and values that contradict the intrinsic worth of each person. They seep into the church and undermines the dynamic of reconciliation found in the Gospel message. Being counter-culture through the discipleship of our hearts is a huge challenge if we rely only on personal devotions and a weekend sermon alone. Instead, we have to train ourselves to engage the ‘mind of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 2:16) given to us and review our perceptions, interpretations and reactions.
This takes intentionality and humility.
For the church to be faithful to who she is and reflect her God, there is a need for us to discover the precious unity we have in Christ across generations and develop needed skills to communicate and serve well together for the cause of the Kingdom.
The relationships between the generations is one that we need to look into for its wide-ranging repercussions for how we raise the next generation, the need of our societies for healing, and the future of the church. Let’s begin, if we have not, to truly dialog between generations on what their landscape is like, what is a church that is relevant for their generation, and how to partner each other to grow it!
Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. (Romans 12:10, NLTSe)
Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you. (Philippians 1:27-9)
Do our young & old see “church” differently?
Is the church relevant today?
These are the questions raised as different social issues resonate with the older and younger generations. We will be examining these viewpoints through our “Redefining the perception of CONTEXT & the church’s CROSS-GENERATIONAL FUTURE” workshops. Come join us and chart the next 10-year course for our generation and lead our multi-generation congregation to move together as one family in unity!
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more!
Rev. Jenni Ho-Huan is the Managing Consultant at ChurchLife Resources, who desires to live with authenticity and help others develop a vibrant faith-life in their particular circumstances and personalities through a strong inner life.