The need for age diversity in the church

Thabiti Anyawale has written on the importance of a sort of cross-generational self-ministering of the church. Old to young and young to old. He see a reality most of us experience, segregated groups within the church based on life stage or age. “By and large, people seem to spend the bulk of their spiritual energy and time with other people in the same stage of life. There’s much that can be said about this–its scope, causes, benefits, and so on. But one thing that strikes me today is that segregating into enclaves based on age and life-stage tends to weaken the future of the church.”

I thought all we had to do to keep the church strong was reload with some young whipper snappers… Thabiti has more to say.

“We have congregations of people “trying to figure life out” largely alone. Great amounts of time get invested in helping young people negotiate the choppy waters of early adulthood, middle-aged people work their way through challenges of marriage, family, and career, and older persons figure out meaning late in life sometimes without much-loved spouses, declining  health, and shrinking numbers of living peers. Pastors and elders mistakenly think they must become masters of each stage of life, counsel people through every opportunity and difficulty, and be there in every circumstance. But, actually, the Bible instructs the pastor to teach the congregation to be there for one another and does so by tying the generations together so that the built-in expertise of old age gets leveraged for every younger generation. It’s a beautiful thing.”

The fact is that the whipper snappers need the mature among us. Older church members must play a role until they die. We are all in this together. And your ministry will make the church stronger.

“Older members of the local church become the front line of discipleship and care. They brighten the future of the church by teaching younger members how to live out the faith, how to avoid mistakes, seize opportunities, practically apply the word of God to their lived realities…We sometimes act as if older members have no role vital to the future of the church. But actually they are absolutely essential, indispensable.”

Shall we be about creating and refining churches that are for all generations? It is the biblical model and makes for a healthy body…

Read the whole post here.

Generational Workforce

I am part of Generation X so often I feel left out in the discussions about the difference between the Boomer generation and Millennials. But I will survive. There is good news, these two generations can work well together and might even make up your next dream team. Behance has an article on the subject worth a read.

Key is the characteristics of each generation:

“At the core of the Millennial energy is potential.

  • Relatively fresh, especially in the working world. Millennials haven’t had time to learn what doesn’t work – their brains aren’t wired yet.
  • Able to work incredibly hard when they are motivated to do so. Intense focus, long hours, across a range of task domains.
  • Intuitively understand technology – they are “digital natives.”
  • Want to see the world become a better place for themselves and their future families.
  • Want mentors who can guide them and explain what mistakes to avoid to maximize their progress and contribution.

At the core of Boomer energy is experience.

  • Spent decades learning, their brains are wired now for what works.
  • Intangible wisdom that comes from decades of forming and living through relationships, projects, and experiences.
  • Tend to have an uneven relationship with technology, how it works, and what is possible.
  • Want to see the world become a better place for their kids and grandkids.
  • Want to feel like they have a direct and tangible way to give back and pass along the things they’ve learned.”

Lets work to strengthen our teams to best utilize both. Read the rest of the article here.

 

HT: Matt McComas