It can often be difficult for a church to reach and engage various generations. What works for the youth of the congregation can be deemed too far from tradition for its elders. In a similar fashion, the elder generations veer from modern technology and styles of worship. How can a church best reach its members from silver-haired to social-media-savvy? Here are three quick tips to bridging the gap between the generations of your church.
Appeal to Your Congregation
A direct approach to bringing generations together is to plead your case with them in service. Pastors will often preach a message on this very topic in an attempt to appeal to all levels. Remind your church that what God pours into us should not simply fill our hearts to contentment, but to a place of overflow. Your walk with Jesus is meant to fulfill all areas of your life so that it serves as a model for others.
The elder generations have years of experience that can guide younger members in their walk. Their knowledge of scripture and life application is invaluable to a heart that’s eagerly beginning to seek God. Young adults have a fresh perspective on building relationships, social outreach, and forms of worship. When the two come together to pour into the church, it creates endless waves of mercy to flow outward. Remind your congregation from children’s ministry to assisted care that they are needed, valued, and loved. Encourage them to evaluate the spiritual gifts God gave them and find those of other generations who were blessed with the same. We’re all made in the image and likeness of God, all brothers and sisters in Christ, — our age doesn’t change that truth.
Your church members might not actively seek ways to reach out to other generations, but will gladly do so if given the opportunity. Arrange visits to assisted living facilities where the young adult ministry can pray over residents. Create small groups that cater to all stages of life and meet throughout the week to uplift and encourage each other. College students can come together with Boomers and Gen-Xers to share their walks of faith and pray over one another.
Community outreach is another opportunity to bridge your generational gap. Have teams work together to plant trees, mend dilapidated homes, or pack meals. Age is simply a number that bears no weight on a Christian’s heart for serving. You might be surprised to see the ways in which your congregation bands together for a common goal without ever noticing the difference in age between them.
The church has a never-ending list of volunteer needs. Whether your weekly attendance is 20 or 2,000, your church most likely has areas in need of assistance. Use the unique spiritual gifts of each generation to combine in a way that serves the church as a whole. Find commonalities amongst your members and pair them together in service. Generations who learned efficient typing can be paired with younger generations who text at the speed of light. Provide them with computers and tablets respectively to work together for the administrative office.
Bring together like-minded individuals with keen organizational skills. These men and women can join forces to order the church’s Advent candles, take inventory of classroom materials, or coordinate volunteer schedules. Find experienced photographers to pair with social media enthusiasts to aid the media team each Sunday. The possibilities for bridging the gap are endless, you just need to know where to look. At the end of the day, your church’s heart for serving knows no separation of age or life experience — it just wants to be the hands and feet of Jesus.