multi-generational churches

Do you ever feel like something is missing when you take a look at the local church? Do you feel like there are generation gaps in our local body of believers? If you have ever had these feelings or questions, you aren’t wrong. Something is missing. The gaps are becoming wider and wider. And, the sad part – nothing is being done about it.

Multi-generational churches are becoming a rare thing in our culture today. We see different congregations popping up around us that cater to one generation or another. We see many churches dying every day because of this very thing. We see doors being open and doors being shut. So why is that? Why are we missing the generations in our churches?

First, we must define what a multi-generational church is. A multi-generational church is a local faith family that is centered around the Word, and looks to fulfill the purposes in which it was designed for: The Great Commission and the Great Commandment. Next, a multi-generational church has a multiple of generations within it. It has children, youth, students, young adults, median adults, seniors. Based on age, looking at the faces of the multi-generational congregation, you can see across the age spectrum. Finally, a multi-generational church reaches people in all the generations. Catering to one is not acceptable. From the way the church facility looks, to the processes in how the church is governed, to the flow of the worship gatherings, to the clothes that are worn by the people. A must-generational church engages all the generations.

So why are these type of churches missing in our communities today?

The answer: It’s hard.

Being a multi-generational church is hard work. A multi-generational church puts the desires and wants of personal preference to the side to see that grand plan of our God – to see ALL people come to faith and knowledge in the Lord Jesus, and to see the Kingdom of God expand to all corners of the earth.

In our culture today, that goes against everything that we know. It goes against putting self above everything or everyone else. This kind of hard work takes just that, hard work. When we so desperately want everything to be easy and simple, the sheer fact of living a life of servanthood goes against the easy and simple. It is deep and complex. But, that’s exactly what we should strive to do.

So how do we get to a multi-generational attitude when it comes to our churches?

  1. Place the Word above everything.
  2. Put aside personal preference for the advancement of the Kingdom.
  3. Take on a servant’s heart.
  4. Build off the foundations of the past, but strive for the future.
  5. Keep at it.

Let’s dive in…

1. Place the Word above everything. This should be key in every church, but in some, it isn’t. Is that ok? Absolutely not. The Word of the Lord should be the very foundation in which we build off of. When we place everything else above the Word, then we are placing the world above where God rightly deserves to be.

This means that everything that we do is driven from the Word. If there is something going on that isn’t driven from the Word, then we get rid of it. If it is something that we have always done just because, but isn’t drive from the Word, we get rid of it. The idea is to as close to a New Testament Church as possible, since we are on this side of the resurrection of Christ.

We teach the Word and nothing else. We sing the Word. We pray the Word. We fellowship around the Word. We take the Word wherever we go. We proclaim the Word.

2. We set aside personal preference for the advancement of the Kingdom. This may be the toughest on the list, because we are all so filled with what we want and what we desire that many times we get sidetracked when it comes to anything else. This means from the way something looks to the way something is done, we set aside the way we think it should be done and figure out the best way to see the Kingdom of the Lord continue to advance.

Personal preference is what we are a custom to these days. We live in a have it your way world. From the condiments we get on our burgers, to the style of music we prefer, everything is about options and choices, and the best thing, we get to pick and choose what we want. When we are tired of it, we just change it. As simple as it sounds, it makes church life that much more difficult.

We are so use to being able to change what we want, when we want it, that it drives us nuts when we are asked to put someone else’s in front of our own. But this is what it means to be a servant. To put others in front of us. To lay aside what we want for the betterment of the group. Christ has called us to serve each other. Let’s be willing to do just that, even if it takes us giving up what we want.

3. Taking on a servants heart is what Christ wants us to do. It is not only what He wants us to do, but it is what He has called us to do. It isn’t for only a few people, but for all followers of Christ. A servant’s heart puts others above themselves. A servant is willing to do the little and the hard things to see that others are placed first, and that the mission of Christ is not compromised.

Servanthood isn’t for the faint of heart. It is humbling. It is tough – kind of like the multi-generational church. Despite this, it is vital. Servanthood takes the mind fo Christ and through the Holy Spirit, overwhelms us to see others around us as the prized creation that they are. In turn, when we see people for people, we begin to see them as Christ did and as the Father does – people who are in need of the great Savior. When our perception of people changes, we will see them as human souls with eternity hanging in the balance.  We will serve them, and make sure that we put the Gospel on our lips to share the good news of Christ. Take on servanthood!

4. We build off the foundations of the past, while at the same time striving for the future. When we do these things, we continue to see how God works the different generations together. Take for a moment and think of the Gospel. Think of how it has transpired generations, and hasn’t faltered or changed. The message has never wavered. However, the means to get the message out seem to change every day. The same with multi-generational churches. We must build off the history and legacy that Christ has set up for us, and continue to advance the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

We don’t neglect the past. We don’t forget about the past. We don’t forsake the people who have labored before us in seeking to make the Kingdom of God known. We honor them by looking to the future with the foundations that they have laid, all for the great glory of Christ.

We have the be careful here… If we place our past on a pedestal, it will soon become and idol. And in doing so, we have done exactly what the Word tells us not to do. We will have placed something above Christ. Be careful with what you worship. Do we worship the Lord or do we worship the traditions and the past?

A multi-generational church will build off the past, and build off the legacy that has been built as long as that legacy points to Jesus.

5. We keep at it. When the times are tough and people are coming at you left and right to focus on just one group, we must remain steadfast in the fact that we should strive to be multi-generational. We keep at it no matter what. When preferences start to come out, and they will, we keep at it. We keep at it until Christ returns.

The world is watching, and I’m glad that they are. They are looking for something. And the best part, we have the something that will change their lives. We have the Gospel of Christ. Let’s live worthy to the cause of Christ. Let’s cling to the cross, and let’s live as a people who have His glory to look forward to. Let’s live and strive to work together for the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ!

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