The church is fracturing. Our focus on generational ministry has led us to a place of weakness.
The Fractured Church
We have divided our generations and broken apart our families in order to be relevant to each generation. This has caused ministries to promote human leaders over Christ, to value some generations over others because of their abilities to give, and to leave some generations to believe that they are not wanted. (See college-age adults, 20-somethings, and singles.)
This fracturing was done for good reason, as culture changed in the ’70s and ’80s when we believed the divide between generations was so great that we each needed something different. So instead of compromising with each other, we just created silos. Everyone got what they wanted; we never had to listen to or appreciate different viewpoints. That made us weak.
A Call to Unity
Our church silos are no match for culture’s rebukes and touts. The world challenges our commitment to love, Scripture, marriage, and life. We can’t answer the world from each generation’s perspective, so we must speak with one unified voice—the voice of Christ from Scripture.
Christian unity is not generational, but rather is based on a shared life in Jesus.
We are beginning to see the error of our ways; I believe we are starting to understand the cost of our selfishness. The wisdom of our seniors is lost as they pass, the innovation and creativity of worship in our millennials is desired by all, and the passion of our youth is now coveted by our middle-age adults. We need each other.
Breaking Down the Silos Through Prayer
I believe the best way to break down these silos is to start to pray for each other. Nothing puts you in another person’s shoes like praying for them. When you bring another person before God to ask him to help them, you must know their needs and buy into their pain on a heart level.
When you pray for a person in another generation, you walk out of your silo and move into theirs.
When you pray for others, the Holy Spirit will join you in your prayers and will bring to mind additional things to pray for. This will grow your understanding of their needs and open your heart to defeat our differences. Unity can come through prayer.
I long for the day when children and students are at church searching for their prayer champion. That person who they know is different from them but is praying for them each day.
I can’t wait for this student and adult to discover what is amazing about each other and to share that interest through their love for Jesus.
Intergenerational ministry must be the future of the church. The church silos will be defeated, but the church unified will prevail through the power of Christ. This is why Jesus, in one of his last teachings in John 17, focused on us being unified in him.
The unified church is a powerful tool in the hands of a loving God.