The Intergenerational Volkswagen
How could the church do their job better? For me, the answer is together.
What’s our job? It’s clearly stated in Mathew 28 that our job is to execute the Great Commission.
In the book An Unstoppable Force, author Erwin McManus compares the church to a habitat where all the species need each other to grow and multiply. The church is like a habitat where generations (species) live together under the same roof—the church. Adults, young people, and kids in one place, eager to learn, grow, and make the Great Commission a reality by making disciples.
But what if the church is where generations collide rather than dance together for a purpose? Aren’t we supposed to be a community, a team? How can we win a game if we don’t play together? “Collide” is my description of a multigenerational church. It’s a place where we celebrate all the generations, but they work separately. Each of them has their own ministry life far from the other. A multigenerational church looks like a NASCAR race where all the cars compete to win on their own. The problem of the multigenerational church is that when you segregate the generations, you take away their opportunity to enjoy and learn from each other. If every generation claims a selfish spot at the church, then the Great Commission is at risk because Christ and the Gospel have ceased to be the center of our worship. The church doesn’t belong to a particular generation—the church belongs to God.
1 Corinthians 12:12 said: “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ”.
God’s mission for all believers, regardless of age, is simple and clear—make disciples of all nations. But it’s a big task, and it’s impossible to do by yourself. Maybe it’s big because He doesn’t want you to do it alone. You need a team. God’s plan for His big mission is the church—the whole church, every generation, working together.
That’s what I think when I use the word “intergenerational”. It’s not a program, but a way of doing ministry together with the same goal in mind of making disciples of every nation. It’s a mindset where church leaders realize that every believer, no matter their age, is part of God’s plan. When we share our lives, stories, and experiences, we become more authentic and less systematic. We do fewer programs to become more relational. Contrary to a NASCAR race, intergenerational looks more like a Volkswagen camper full of people of different ages racing together to win. While they travel, they learn from each other as they work and serve together. They interact and develop meaningful relationships that help them show the world the invisible one.
I remember when my church started this new way of seeing the ministry. Our pastor asked us to cancel the majority of activities (the calendar was ridiculously busy). The men’s and women’s ministries decided to cancel their own activities to serve as one great team in the Fall Fest where we reached kids from the community. The result was a great celebration. Everyone had fun. The adults from the church met the kids and heard their stories, and you know that when you hear somebody’s story you’ll never see them the same way again.
How can we move to be more intergenerational?
- Be intentional. Learn the names of the kids and young people. Hear their stories.
- Be a mentor. Invest your life in kids and young people. Share your life experiences and your story.
- Be a team. Serve together. In our neighborhoods or on missions trips, let’s serve as a family. Let’s live the life God has for us, and let’s do it together.
Though the church needs to provide different experiences for every generation, in the end we know that it’s not about your generation or mine—it’s all about Christ and Christ alone.
Summer is For Families
Summer is just around the corner. The kids are crazy because the final bell sounds to mark the beginning of summer. For parents summer can mean many things. More clutter in the house, later bed times, finding activities, and maybe refrigerators in food crisis. But summer can be a great time of year to mark the spiritual life of your family. As a family we invite you to not let your guard down this summer. Instead, be intentional about the spiritual education in your home.
That’s why we suggest that you:
- Continue to pray for your family and have quiet time at home for at least one night a week (family night). Remember that although your family is on vacation, God never goes on vacation.
- Choose a service project where your family can serve during the summer. Teaching kids that were created to serve.
- Make guidelines for the use of electronics. Help your kids to not be connected to the TV, video games or Internet all day. Monitor video games, TV programs and Internet content.
- Prepare your “summer bucket list”. As a family create a list of things you would like to do this summer.
- Remember that while camps, VBS, and day programs are fun it is always more fun to spend time together as a family.
Hopefully 2014 will be a great summer and the memories that are made this summer in your family will be remembered for many years.
For the Spanish version click here.
El verano es para las familias
El verano esta a la vuelta de la esquina. Los pequeños están locos porque suene el timbre final que marque el comienzo del verano. Para los padres el verano puede significar muchas cosas. Buscar campamentos, más desorden en la casa, ir más tarde a cama y tal vez refrigeradores en crisis de alimentos. Pero también el verano puede ser un excelente momento del años para marcar la vida espiritual de tu familia. Como familia queremos invitarte a que en verano no bajes la guardia y continuemos siendo intencionales en la educación espiritual en casa.
Es por eso que sugerimos que:
- Continúa orando en familia y teniendo tu tiempo devocional en casa por lo menos una noche a la semana. Recuerda a tu familia que aunque estamos de vacaciones, Dios nunca se va de vacaciones.
- Escoge un proyecto de servicio donde tu familia sirva durante el verano. Continua enseñándoles que fueron creados para servir.
- Mantén las reglas de uso de electrónicos en casa. Ayúdales a no estar conectados todo el día al TV, video juegos o internet. Monitorea los video juegos, los programas de TV y el contenido de internet.
- Prepara tu “summer bucket list”. Crea en familia una lista de las cosas que les gustaría hacer en verano.
- Aunque tu hijos e hijas pasen todo el día en algún campamento, recuerda que no hay mayor diversión que pasar tiempo en familia.
Esperamos que sea un gran verano y que los recuerdos que vivan en familia creen tradiciones familiares que les sigan por muchos años.
For the English version click here.