Not one for labels, I prefer to celebrate everyone’s uniqueness, but I admit it can be helpful to understand trends associated with each generation. A danger is that we pre-judge each other and don’t allow for variation in outlook & experience of individuals & groups we try to connect with and share God’s Love with.
They say you don’t choose your family, and sadly disfunction splits both natural & church families. But there’s little like it on earth when it clicks! Yesterday in our main church family gathering we rejoiced in 6 generations celebrating & practising God’s loving presence in Christ TOGETHER. It’s good for single generation & interest groups to worship, learn & witness together in order to reach & meet some people’s needs & wants. We try to do this through various niche groups & mission communities (e.g. ‘Encounter’ for 20’s – 30’s), however meeting the challenge of helping one another in Jesus’ Body / God’s Family to get beyond WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) and connect meaningfully with each other is vital to growing up as human beings & maturing in God.
Our 6 Generations: Greatest (born 1901-24), Maturist / Silent / Builders (1924-45), Baby Boomers (1946-64), Generation X (1965-76), Millennials / Gen’ Y (1977-95), Gen’ Z (1996à). So Millennials, who love to pump up the volume, forcing Greatest & Maturists to switch off their hearing aids, might not appreciate having their jets calmed when it comes to music in church, but it’s a great test of cross generational listening and love. I can be accused of trying to please everyone in our main 10.30am Sunday Service, thus pleasing no one, such is the diversity of music & styles used. With a ‘consumerist’ mentality we simply look for what pleases my ear or soothes my own soul, and easily complain when things don’t suit us; but if able to ‘look to the interests of others before our own’ we can explore & express precious & costly community.
6 Generations worshipping, witnessing & working together thoroughly excites me, God’s providential experiment for Planet Earth. I love it when a pensioner delights in the number of kids bouncing about Fullarton & the growing respect for older generations fostered among youngsters. Single people get to share other people’s families, who get to increase their circle of care. Lonely & isolated people find themselves part of a friendship network; people down on their luck or recovering from addiction & other illnesses find acceptance, love & healing. After services our café & soft-play catch most attendees creating an almighty buzz. But ‘relationships that work are working relationships’ & mutual respect and care for one another has to be intentional. If you’ve stories & tips to pass on, do share them!
“If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favour: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.”(Philippians 2:1-4 – MSG)