It’s hard to imagine, but it’s only a relatively new concept to have a separate demographic called ‘youth.’
It started after the Industrial Revolution had driven young people from their rural villages to assemble in the urban factories.
No longer was the whole family living, working and worshipping together, as they had for thousands of years.
What’s more, the efficiency of the assembly line found its way into the church, with a series of different cradle-to-the-grave ministries that focus on age-specific groups.
This specialisation has many benefits, especially as a way of ensuring that children and youth are taught in a way that recognises that they learn and relate differently than adults do.
It has also been a good way to help reach people who are not yet part of the church, as our focused ministries to seniors, men, women, parents, singles, youth, and children, help ‘like attract like’ in our community.
Yet, maybe we will have a bigger impact on those inside and outside the church if we focus more on intergenerational ministry?
In his conference talk, he challenged us to keep developing a church culture, “in which segmentation and specialisation become exceptional instead of assumed,” and where these ministries and activities, “occur on particular occasions for clearly-defined purposes, but the typical pattern of ministry is multi-generational.”
For, he is convinced that “a generationally, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse church will exemplify a more powerful witness, a more resilient faith, and a greater reliance on gifts that the Holy Spirit alone can give.”
Let’s keep working together to explore ways we can minister together across the ages, as we seek to build Christ’s church as we await his return.