Bridging the Generation Gap in Ministry: Multi-generational Church (ANLI)
Bridging the Generation Gap in Ministry From All Nations Leadership Institute
What is a multi-generational church?A multi-generational church is one where atleast three generations exist in harmony,under one leadership head.
What are the attitudes, access andrelationships necessary for a multi-generational church?
Attitudes, Access and Relationships Attitudes Access Relationships
Attitudes, Access and RelationshipsAttitudes•Values and respects the other•Seeks to serve the otherAccess•Has access to the same kinds of ministry• Has opportunity to worship according to their preference and in unity with the otherRelationships•Cross-generational relationships exist•Older generations disciple the one beneath them•Younger generations teach the ones above them•Each generation learns from the other
What does the Bible say about cross-generational ministry?
Titus 2:4-5 shows an example of discipling throughthe passing on of Christian values from the olderwomen to younger. The older women established ahousehold code that the younger women taught totheir children. This created a continuous learningcycle .The relationship between Jesus and His disciples,as well as with Paul and Timothy also showgenerational mentoring. What the Bible says about cross-generational ministry
Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.Love the LORD your God with all your heart and withall your soul and with all your strength. Thesecommandments that I give you today are to be uponyour hearts. Impress them on your children. Talkabout them when you sit at home and when youwalk along the road, when you lie down and whenyou get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands andbind them on your foreheads. Write them on thedoorframes of your houses and on your gates (Deut.6:4-9, New International Version). What the Bible says about cross-generational ministry
What is the biblical basis for a multi-generational church?
Jesus gave us the Great Commission to “thereforego and make disciples of all nations…” (Matt 28:18,New International Version). This is an inclusivestatement that encompasses everyone from allgenerations.
O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the wordsof my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables, Iwill utter hidden things, things from of old--whatwe have heard and known, what our fathers havetold us. We will not hide them from their children;we will tell the next generation the praiseworthydeeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders hehas done (Ps. 78:1-4, New International Version,).
What are the different age spans in amulti-generational church?
There are five generations: Seniors, Builders,Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y.
Seniors • (B)1927-45 & Builders • (S) <1926 Boomers • 1946-1964 Gen X • 1965-1983 Gen Y • 1984-2002Generation Ranges(Adapted from Whitesel, B. & Hunter K., 2000)
Seniors and Boomers Seniors (Before 1926) & Builders (Born 1927 -45)
Seniors and Boomers CHANGE Like stability, constancy, Seniors and and minimal Builders change
Seniors and Builders LEARNING CHANGE Prefer Like lecture stability, format constancy, Seniors and and minimal Builders change
Seniors and Builders LEGACY LEARNING CHANGE Build the Prefer Like Western lecture stability, world into format constancy, Seniors a safe and and place minimal Builders change
Seniors and Builders CHURCH LEGACY LEARNING CHANGE Need to Build the Prefer Like be heard; Western lecture stability, world into format constancy, Seniors Like a safe and andtraditional place minimal Builders hymns change and customs(Adapted from Whitesel, B. & Hunter K., 2000)
Boomers CHANGE Like experiment ation; Seek and find Boomers more efficient ways to do things
Boomers LEARNING CHANGE Prefer Like participa- experiment tion ation; Seek format, and find Boomers where more questions efficient are en- ways to do couraged things
Boomers LEGACY LEARNING CHANGE Made the Prefer Like world a participa- experiment better tion ation; Seek place format, and find Boomers through where moreinnovation, questions efficient but not a are en- ways to dosafer place couraged things
Boomers CHURCH LEGACY LEARNING CHANGE Needs of Made the Prefer Like congrega- world a participa- experiment tion; better tion ation; Seek Soft rock place format, and find Boomers w/ through where morechoruses & innovation, questions efficient some but not a are en- ways to do media safer place couraged things usage(Adapted from Whitesel, B. & Hunter K., 2000)
Gen X CHANGE Radical experi- menting Gen X Combining incompa- tible concepts
Gen XLEARNING CHANGE Socratic Radical method; experi-Questions menting & Gen Xdissent en- Combining couraged incompa- tible concepts
Gen X LEGACY LEARNING CHANGE Saved the Socratic Radicalworld from method; experi- itself Questions menting(pollution, & Gen Xoverpopula dissent en- Combining tion, etc.) couraged incompa- tible concepts
Gen X CHURCH LEGACY LEARNING CHANGE Needs of Saved the Socratic Radical the world from method; experi-community itself Questions menting like (pollution, & Gen Xinteractive/ overpopula dissent en- Combining edgy tion, etc.) couraged incompa- post- tible modern concepts rock(Adapted from Whitesel, B. & Hunter K., 2000)
Gen Y CHANGE Embrace electronic community & com- Gen Y munication for better living
Gen YLEARNING CHANGE Electronic Embrace hyper electronic Socratic community method; & com- Gen Y active munication confron- for better tation, livingleading to insight-
Gen Y LEGACY LEARNING CHANGE Wants to Electronic Embrace be the hyper electronicgeneration Socratic community that method; & com- Gen Y plugged active munication into confron- for bettereverything tation, living leading to insight-
Gen YCHURCH LEGACY LEARNING CHANGE Closely Wants to Electronic Embraceconnected be the hyper electronic to one generation Socratic community another; that method; & com- Gen Y post plugged active municationmodern & into confron- for betteredgy; high everything tation, living media leading to usage insight-(Adapted from Whitesel, B. & Hunter K., 2000)
TRADITION People don’t always want to change traditions. WORSHIP STYLE PREFERENCECongregants have a strong preference for a particular worship style. SET IN WAYSDon’t want to pass the baton or respect competency of next generation COMMUNICATION STYLE Style differs in preaching, teaching and small group.
What are the strategies to create amulti-generational church?
• Let’s first review the basic framework for leading in a diverse church.• There are five indicators, which are perspective, intentionality, adaptability, inclusivity and communication.• This framework represents the indicators you need to consider in ministry regarding a person’s cultural background.
Framework for Leading in a Diverse Church Agape Love From Paron, J. (2008). Perspective Considering another’s viewpoint as influenced by cultural background, gender, Communication race, socioeconomic level Using communication that respects, PURPOSE IntentionalityAgape Love Agape Love supports, reaches, and bridges diversity Access to Taking intentional steps Reconciliation towards bringing the with God body of Christ into Inclusivity oneness, our purpose Creating an environment where all are included Adaptability and have access to reconciliation with God. Adjusting to other people’s ways that are different than ours—Changing the method, not the message Agape Love
Strategies to create a healthy,multi-generational church culture
Strategies for Producing a Healthy, Multi-generational Church Culture • Build support for genuine respect of different generationalStrategy 1 viewpoints • Promote acceptance of different traditions and methodologiesStrategy 2 used by each generation • Demonstrate understanding of strengths and balances in theStrategy 3 generational diversity of a multi-generational church • Create new terminology to delicately handle any potentialStrategy 4 discord • Facilitate acceptance for multi-generational strategies asStrategy 5 some of the ways to build a church and bridge diversity Adapted from Whitesel, B. & Hunter, K. (2000). A House Divided. Strategies to Bridge the Gap. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.
Strategy 1:Build support for genuine respect of differentgenerational viewpointsUnderstanding the Strategy You want to create an environment for love. When love prevails, judgment ends, respect follows – (Matt. 22:37- 40, KJV). Part of love is accepting each other: what each feels, how each behaves and why they respond in a certain way. We need to appreciate “that another culture’s software program may run differently from ours…(Soong-Chan, R., 2010).
Strategy 2:Accepts that different traditions & methodologieswill be employed by each generationUnderstanding the Strategy Church traditions are a way for people to express their faith. Churches have many traditions. These traditions can be historic and part of denominational heritage. They can also reflect practices and perspectives adapted from the past. All these are made in the face of changing social and cultural circumstances.
Strategy 3:Understands that there is strength and balance inthe generational diversityUnderstanding the Strategy A church with one generation, doesn’t have the richness and knowledge as one that is multi generational. When the diversity of the Body comes together for the purpose of the salvation message it supports the Great Commission Last, each generation strengthens the other. Iron sharpens iron.
Strategy 4:Realizes that these intergenerational tensions willrequire the creation of new terminology todelicately handle any potential discord.Understanding the Strategy Education must take place for a common understanding. For example, recently the Lighthouse Church Junior Armor Bearers put on a skit about hip hop. After showing the negative side of hip hop, they showed the positive, Christian aspect of it. They defined it in Christian terms.
Strategy 5:Accepts the fact that a tri-generational strategy isoften the way to build a church and bridgediversity.Understanding the Strategy Many congregations are dwindling in size. Older generations die and Boomers near or are at retirement. Boomers are still the principal population in many churches, and like Builders, don’t necessarily welcome change. This pushes Gen X and Y out to other churches, leaving an older population. Did you know that the average membership of churches is under 100? Further, most decline after 40 years (Olson, D., 2008).
ReferencesCarroll, J. & Roof, W. (2002). Bridging divided worlds: Generational cultures in congregations. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Mead, M. (1970). Culture and commitment: A study of the generation gap. Garden City, NY: Natural History Press.Olson, D. (2008). The American church in crisis. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.Paron, J. (2008). Framework for leading in a diverse church. Alsip, IL: All Nations Leadership Institute.Rah, S. (2010). Many colors: Cultural intelligence for a changing church. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers.Whitesel, G. (2010). Church leaders MBA: Organizational behavior, generational differences. Marrion, IN: Indiana Wesleyan University.Whitesel, B. & Hunter K. (2000). A House Divided. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press.
“It is true that the continuity of all cultures depends on the living presence of at least three generations” (Mead, 1970).
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