Posts Tagged ‘ministry’

inter-generational…

In so many areas of life/culture, groups of people are divided and set against each other.  By race, understandings, generations, cultures, experiences, etc.  The Church is always to be the place that no matter what your defining characteristics – we are ONE in Christ.  No matter what definitions the world gives you, the foundational characteristic of “Beloved by God, in need of His Grace” is enough to build on for the Kingdom.

Even in the midst of this, there are understandings that improve our ability to serve and work and celebrate life together as one body.  Overloading our accounts and pockets with grace, love, humility, and inviting the Holy Spirit to enable us to live/love like Christ are great places to start.

For years now, our culture seems to LOVE age-specific ministries. It’s great developmentally to focus on Jesus and life experiences in ways that are appropriate and easily assimilated into knowledge & life.  The problem is when we make these the primary focus of doing church well.  We have great kids’ programs for earning important badges.  Next, we have a youth group experience with mountain tops and focusing this highly emotional season of life on Jesus.  Next, we have students who enjoyed youth group so much – they want a similar experience with their peers as “College Age Ministry”.  When that goes well, it seems successful and natural to provide a “Young Adult Ministry”.  At some nebulous point after significant life events like owning a home, moving, getting married, etc…a person might simply quietly acquiesce into a “Regular Adult Class”, but not without first attempting a “(age range) Group”.

Like I said – some of this desire is good, and should be harnessed toward life transformation.  But some of this simply provides a false experience of a Biblically diverse community made from several generations contributing to life together in the name of Jesus.  Church is meant to be inter-generational, not just multi-generational.  It’s not enough to say, “Wow, our church has a lot of (desirable age group here)!”  Is that group integrated & connected with the other generations, self-identifying as a contributing and valued part of the whole?

Thankfully, many have been realizing this – and some never forgot it.  The warning I’ve heard in their writings have been – don’t assume the Love of Jesus will simply wash away the varied (and beautifully important) differences each generation brings to the table.  So in closing, I’ll include a chart here that I created after reading some articles/books on the topic.  I found it an interesting study, as an artist might appreciate the palate of colors available before beginning a new painting technique… (although I’m more of the artists’ admirer, as Jesus holds the brush) ( (Side note: The authors often indicated that any discussion on generational descriptions is an exercise in Fiction. Of course, we cannot say that all (generation) are like this. But as they’ve studied, certain characteristics seemed common, and worth noting.)

Chart1Chart2

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sunrise

Sunlight breaks through hotel window.
A building crescendo toward a week to come.IMG_0807

Youth & beyond, a pond teeming
With life, some life anew.
So few moments
but filled with
Something esoteric to this umwelt.
As felt need meets prayers from home
That intercede
For transformation.

For some, simply vacation
But even this offers to displace
The patterns and anxieties normally served
God uses such a swerve
Even as they work up the nerve to speak.

And peek through clasped hands
A glance at a future yet undecided
Confided only in quietest of moments,
After noises fade, we find He has made

New Creation.

And I get to watch them take
first wobbly steps.
Get to speak Hope.

Someday they will run and dance.

And I will too.

 

seeds.

There are plenty of things I don’t like to see.

Like the receipt of expensive seeds that never took. The end of a great book.
Like dirty side-walks. Or my own hands, holding a shovel.
Like dirt turning to mud, or birds eating seed I’ve just put down.

I don’t like to see young men and women make horrible choices.
Voices of lives taking turns in directions not great.
“Fate” blamed for bad decision, indecision, and pride.

Gates wide with people losing sight and sound of words spoken of them by God.
Seeking identity in every corner but His. Every source but Him.
Lights dim, believing the sun is setting, not rising.

I don’t like to take my family down paths that are winding.
Blinding roads that don’t end up where I told them we were heading.
Jesus sweating tears of blood as He takes on our sins.

But in the midst of it, something new begins.

Forgiveness comes to all, restoring relationships
As grace is flipped upside down, poured out on the ground.
And the round-about I’ve taken my family ends up being found
Right in the middle of Kingdom coming.

Lights dim, and here comes the Son.
False identities crash hard, and façades are torn away.
Because you can’t take costumes with you to jail.
As sails are torn, and offered to God,
He tills the sod, protects the seed. Becomes all that we need.
Holds what has died in the palm of His hand.

And up comes New Life.
Here lives the New Man.

photo

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