Monday, August 31, 2009

Why Does a Church Need Multi-Generations?

Milbre and I had a day off yesterday and took the opportunity to visit a church in Seattle we had heard so much about. We visited Mars Hill Church at the Ballard Campus. Lead Pastor Mark Driscoll was on vacation. Pastor "Bill" was the speaker. We were both struck by the enormous crowd of young people! Hundreds of twenty-somethings. What a testatment to this local church reaching this younger generation. The only anomally was there were almost no older people. I noticed only 4 or 5 couples (out of hundreds) that I would consider "Middle-Age".

Pastor Bill brought a great message on living the Christ life. I observed the youth in that service were totally immersed in the message. The service began at 11:15 AM. There were two worship choruses with up-beat music. Pastor began his message at 11:30 and wrapped up at 12:15PM. I thought that was a good balance--weighted to the Word.

After service, Milbre and I discussed the service and agreed that it was a terrific outreach--but where were the older people? It is my belief that church should represent and include all generatons. The elders need the younger set and the younger set need the influence of elders in their life. This is not criticsm, but a question of what happens if you do church with only your generation? Is this the trend? I know of a church in Phoenix AZ that has only 55 and older.

If you have thoughts or comments on this trend, please let me know. I believe that everyone needs Jesus Christ and no one should be left behind.


Mike Johnson said...


I've read your post, thought about it, thought about it again...and have been thinking about it for nearly a year before you wrote it! Great post!

My answer to your question is, we need multi-generations because our culture is filled with multi-generations. Secondly, we need those who are older in the faith to encourage and teach those who are younger. Lastly, I believe that having all young people is just as unhealthy as all senior adults, or all 40 somethings.

This is where the "rub" is. Let me explain:

Mars Hill fits into the new "brand" of church reaching young people called "post modern" or "emergent." I suspect you already know this. As a group (with exceptions of course) they are teaching an in-depth course on Christianity. I fear that some of our long-time attenders ('been in the church for 30 years or more - including my age group of under 50) are loath to sit for it. I fear that we are looking for something a bit more exciting - and perhaps, "surface." Some of our popular television preachers with minimal depth (yes, I like them too) are the competition for the sensibilities of the Pentecostal believer. It's terribly difficult to go from Fruit Loops to Shredded Wheat biscuits...and I want my RIGHTS to the 'Loops preserved!

I believe this is a problem.

For Pentecostals I believe the challenge is to merge the depth of Reformed-styled teaching with the Spirit emphasis of our heritage. Generally in our kind of churches you hear either one or the other. When a strong Word ministry is combined with a powerful flow of the presence of God, individuals, church and culture are transformed. This is the kind of ministry we're aiming toward at the outpost where I serve. It's hard but worthwhile.

Strong Word and Spirit - now that's a lethal combination toward a culture without Christ. If only we can get ALL the generations to participate on some level.

Thanks for having the courage to post the question. My response is certainly only one perspective.


Don Howard said...

Thanks Mike for your insighful comments. Perhaps you could write an essay or book for the AG on this subject. It would be very timely!