I’m 34 years old and since June 1998 I’ve been involved in vocational ministry in some way. That’s 16.5 years of my life. Next May, I will have spent more than half of my life working in the local church as a Student Pastor, Discipleship/Groups Pastor and Lead Pastor.
In many ways, I’m still “wet behind the ears.” There is much that I don’t know and don’t understand but by God’s grace, each ministry that I have served has seen life transformation, spiritual growth and multiplication of disciples. It’s a God-thing. He does miraculous work and I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to witness this work.
In 16.5 years, however, I have seen an alarming trend. This trend is a dangerous one and I believe it has a lasting effect on the effectiveness and cohesiveness of the local church. This trend causes churches to divide, to fracture and worse, to become inert in their community.
Hear me, I am NOT saying that every church struggles with this trend. I AM saying that MANY churches struggle with it.
So, what’s the trend?
We don’t bridge the gap; the gap between generations in our churches. If anything, we widen the gap by not encouraging these groups to work together, to grow together and to respect the lives and experiences of one another.
Our churches need experienced people who have been through life. Our churches need young people who bring vitality and energy. Our churches need people to harness that energy and vitality with wisdom and direct it where it will advance the purposes of God’s Kingdom. Our churches need people to recognize and see wisdom and honor it.
I’m 34 years old and our church reflects this. We have many young families with young children. They look like me, like my family. We have singles, young marrieds, young families. We have a gap. We lack people with grown children who can help these families navigate life with young children. We need help.
If you are over 50 and are a church-goer, you are needed! Your church needs you. Take advantage of opportunities to invest and disciple young families as they navigate life. Older men, take younger men under your wing and share your life with them. Share your failures, your successes and let us learn from you. Older women, take a young woman, a young mom under your wing and show her that it’s all going to be ok. Share with her that you can survive raising small children. Show her that Jesus sustains in the midst of laundry, diapers, dirty dishes and uncooked meals.
The Gospel of Jesus is our only hope. But He has given His Gospel to us to share with others. His Church is the hub where we learn to live together peaceably with all men, when iron sharpens iron and where we grow together into Christ.
Help bridge the gap in your church. Find a church near you that needs to bridge the gap and be a catalyst. This 34-year-old pastor thanks you.