Are Today’s Churches Too Generational?

Daniel Darling says churches that worship at the altar of relevance divide ministry into age-graded demographics.

Did you hear the latest research about the attitudes of Millennials? Me neither.

I’m being sarcastic, but kind of serious. It’s good to study the trends and behaviors of the next generation so we can adapt our ministry methods for gospel advance and the edification of those we are called to serve.

Still, my experience tells me that that the kind of ministry that best builds up the body of Christ is one filled with incarnational, intergenerational, gift-giving relationships.

I recently said goodbye to one of my dearest friends, who taught me more about ministry than anyone else I knew. He recently succumbed to cancer in his early eighties. Until this quick-moving disease ushered Him home, Bill was a font of wisdom about how to do ministry. It was timeless wisdom good for dealing with every generation.

Another of my close friends is a Boomer. I can’t tell you how many lengthy phone conversations I’ve had with Rich over the years, gleaning precious insights on family and church life.

I’ve seen this dynamic played out in church life if the leaders are willing to embrace a multi-generational approach. Churches that worship at the altar of relevance, who are constantly chasing the next trend might be tempted to so vigorously divide ministry into age-graded demographics that they create little churches within their church. However, churches who balance generational needs with a multi-generational dynamic foster a rich, other-worldly kind of body life.

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