Younger Christians sometimes feel that the older Christians are out of touch, repetitive (as in, like to tell the same stories) and behind the times; that they are not engaged with culture and the latest technology. At the same time, older Christians sometimes feel that the younger generations are disrespectful, too self-absorbed and too enmeshed with the worldly culture and lifestyle. We cannot deny that generation gap exists. People often naturally gravitate towards their own peers whether it is at meal times or activity times.
I work in the church office as a pastoral staff. My colleagues comprise younger adults in their 30s and 40s, but some have more theological training and are versatile in many ways I am not. What I have on my side is age and more experience with life’s ups and downs. I am glad to be able to serve alongside a vibrant team… it keeps me “young” and “in touch”….with much effort I might add.
One of the greatest things about being in the Family of God is that there need not be a “generation gap” between believers who are committed to the cause of Christ, in matters that are important. “…for in Christ Jesus, we are all sons of God, through faith.” (Gal 3:26).
I am very glad that our church tries to provide opportunities for different age groups to work or serve together. Lately, I have seen more inter-generational efforts in the following areas:
Serving Sunday breakfast; serving lunch at special services; ushering and welcoming newcomers; joining small groups that are multi-generational; arranging special dialogue sessions for young adults to interact with seniors; getting young and old to serve together at community events, including old-time hymns and contemporary songs at worship service, etc.
Ps Rick in one of his sermons talked about the need to have Pauls, Timothys and Epaphroditus in our church community. Who are they in your life? Of course it’s not just an ‘age’ thing. But can we strategically structure opportunities for meaningful mentorships between older folks and younger people? How can we build an environment where different generations are intentional and missional, willing to make time to know each other, willing to learn one another’s “language”, hear each other’s stories and struggles? How can we leverage on the presence of the old and young in our midst to become a church that is inclusive and outreaching to both young and old? Making efforts to build bridges across generations will help us to become a truly grace community where the gospel is lived out. Where we truly learn to look out for and care for and love one another.
Maybe we can organize more inter-generational activities (e.g. games, outings, not just during church camps), step forward to be involved in mentoring relationships whether as the older person or the younger. This is one goal we can work towards in growing in our Devotion to Christ’s Body.
“Older women… teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the Word of God may not be reviled. Likewise, (older men) urge the younger men to be self-controlled. Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned…” (Titus 2:3-8)
Let’s be a church of Bridge-builders!
By Har Lee John, Pastoral Staff (YCKC Bulletin 9&10 April 2016)