I have been intrigued by conversations amongst a few younger believers and pastors as of late. While they are begging those of age to connect with and mentor them, they question the older generation’s missional heart and seem to sincerely believe that the prior generation isn’t nearly as passionate as they are about introducing the Gospel to the world. And they say it . . . out loud . . . in the presence of everyone.
This puts the generation of age in a very awkward position. Their motives and methods have been questioned which leads to some messy mentalities. The request is, “Give your time, experience, and money to me and the church I lead.” The attitude that is portrayed is, “I don’t respect your heart, motives, or practices.” Something to keep in mind . . . When you create an “us versus them” perspective, you’re probably not going to get much from “them.”
Isn’t it time for all of us to understand that we are one in Christ? We are the body of Christ, every one of us. Jesus anticipated a certain synergy would take place as all of God’s church was seen as equals engaged in carrying the Gospel to the world. That those of age bring wisdom and experience to the plate and that those of a younger generation bring passion, new mindsets, and a cultural awareness to the conversation (By the way, there are many younger adults who are full of wisdom and who have more experience than the older generation wants to admit and there are many older adults who house deep passion, forward-thinking mindsets, and who are able to not only understand and flourish in the present culture, but also, due to their age, can compare cultures). When we get together something amazing happens. When we build obstacles that must be overcome we cannot experience that synergy.
Some say that the prior generation only had in mind achieving the American Dream and that the younger generation is all about giving up all to go wherever needed to share Christ with the world. We are not stereotypes. There are a massive number of older pastors and parishioners who have sacrificed all, who didn’t chase the American dream, who suffered for the cause and the Gospel. And there are many younger pastors and parishioners who are chasing the American dream, who would never even think about giving up their beautiful home or hundred dollar designer jeans. And, like some of the pastors from a prior generation, they are looking for the next opportunity to make more money and make a name for themselves.
Both generations have their faults, both generations have their limitations, both generations have much to offer.
We are not two generations. We are one church.
Rick Howerton believes the world will know the gospel when there is “a biblical small group within walking distance of every person on the planet.” He lives to see this goal accomplished. Follow him on Twitter @RickHowerton.