We Are a Multigenerational Church. What Does That Really Mean?
One of the first blogs I wrote when I arrived at Spirit & Life in January 2017 was this sweet story about a boy in my youth group from my previous church. This story is now over well over 10 years old and he’s now a fully grown working man for the NSA. (Link to original blog.)
This story is: One Sunday one of our 8th grade boys showed up to church wearing a suit and a tie. I was wearing jeans that day (dress jeans for those who understand that fashion) and the practice for the rest of the staff is to rarely wear a tie. This boy’s appearance was a shock to us, many whom have known him his entire life. So the moment he entered into our worship center he was mobbed with comments. Comments he definitely expected to receive. Comments he definitely did receive. He came to church that morning knowing that he would receive the hubbub he did receive. This once shy, asperger’s-diagnosed boy came to church purposely to be the center of our attention that morning.
Have you noticed one of our teen boys wearing a tie quite often on Sunday mornings? Hmmm… This is being multigenerational.
Have you noticed our teens having many and varied responsibilities for “big church” worship? This is being multigenerational.
Have you noticed that parents are just as much a part of the youth ministry as the youth? This is being multigenerational.
Have you noticed that we have Millennials in church leadership? Even church council? This is being multigenerational.
Have you noticed our children noticing all of the attention they are receiving during our “big church” children’s time? This is being multigenerational.
What you will not notice is when you arrive at our church you are asked to check in your kids, BUT you are NOT being asked to scatter to everyone’s age-appropriate room. You are asked to sit down together for worship. This is being multigenerational.
The Big-C Church has a big problem of losing the younger generations. There are loads of blogs, podcasts, sermons series about this very real problem.
My favorite researcher (and I do love to read research), Barna Group, has compiled extensive research on this problem. From their extensive research with Millennials, they have found that only 10% fall into the category us pastors hope everyone will become one day—resilient disciple.
The Millennial number breakdowns are:
- Prodigals/ex-Christians 22%
- Nomads/lapsed Christians 30%
- Habitual churchgoers 38%
- Resilient disciples 10%
To help church leaders Barna Group asked the resilient disciples what they want to get out of church. Look at the high percentages of these wants.
We’ve been intentionally multigenerational since my arrival to Spirit & Life Church. I believe we are intentionally hitting eight of these wants already and on our way to meeting more. (Happy dance!) This is being multigenerational.
(Knowing what a gif is and using a gif is also being multigenerational. Especially considering that I am also a grandma.)
This is reaching Millennials and Generation Z with a gospel that will change their lives, form their identities, last beyond high school youth group, and eventually better our world.
This is why we are multigenerational. This is our weekly stated mission of “Helping people of all backgrounds and ages authentically encounter Jesus Christ through worship and small groups for lives of service.” This is my heart and why I’ve been a youth pastor for nearly 39 years—I want teens to know this gospel.
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