Bridging the generation gap
    February 9 2016 by Jeremy Mahaffey, Guest Column

    In 16 years of ministry I’ve noticed that nearly every church, every pastor and every church member has dealt with the issue of the generation gap. To solve this problem in our local churches we have to simply do one thing, “love our neighbor as ourselves.”
     
    I’ve come to the conclusion that the generation gap isn’t really about church styles or church music, but rather it’s about a lack of love. The young like things fast, loud and technologically advanced, while many of the older like things a little slower and more predictable. But in the end those aren’t the real issues. The real problem is how we love those different from us!
     
    I loved my grandparents deeply, but we were as different as night and day. For some reason I never really had any problems bridging the generation gap with my grandparents. Do you want to know why? It was because I loved them with all my heart!
     
    Imagine how compelling and God-honoring a local church could be if the youth learn from their elders and the elders intentionally invest in the younger generation.
     
    As a preacher I get tired of hearing the same arguments over and over again. Those arguments usually take on one of the following two forms.
     
    The older say, “Those young people are going to destroy the church with all their new ideas, upbeat music and casual attire.” Second, the younger say, “Those older folks are going to let this church die because they don’t want to change anything.”
     
    If you read the two complaints closely, you’ll notice the issue is more about identifying who the problem is and less about trying to understand and love those that are different from us. This problem is something that can and will quickly go away if we just love each other the way Jesus commands us.
     
    Our churches will not suddenly start reaching the world for Christ just because generational preferences are met. Just because a local church does or does not cater to everyone’s personal preferences is not the reason Christ came to die. Jesus’ death on the cross was for the salvation of souls, not for the preserving of traditions.
     
    Let me be crystal clear. I believe there is nothing wrong with traditions, and there is nothing wrong with change. The problems arise when our obedience or lack of obedience is directly linked to certain aspects of “church life” and not to Christ Himself.
     
    Those who struggle with bridging the generation gap are usually blinded by the belief that their preferences are right and any other preference is wrong. We must pray and not be deceived into this kind of thinking. Rather, we must learn to hold to Christ alone and learn to do it together. We have to get to the point where we all love those much younger than us, those much older than us and those who are very different from us. If we only love and support those who are just like us, we aren’t really a “church body.” The enemy would love to divert us and our church’s focus away from Christ and to non-essential issues. I plead with you today to remember that Christ came for people, died for people, arose for people and will return for people, and not for our generational preferences.
     
    The problem of bridging the generation gap can be eliminated, but it must start with each of us loving those who are different from us. Remember, heaven will not be filled with everyone who is just like you!
     
    (EDITOR’S NOTE – Jeremy Mahaffey is senior pastor of Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Vale.)

    2/9/2016 11:47:22 AM by Jeremy Mahaffey, Guest Column | with 1 comments
    Filed under: church body, generation gap, ministry




Comments
Neil
Jeremy got to the point. Now, do we continue to be divided in the body or do we start loving as Christ loved the Church.?
2/11/2016 6:35:38 PM