Feb 23, 2011

How About "All Gen" Ministry?

We hear a lot these days about "Nex Gen" ministry. It's a reference to intentionality in reaching and discipling children and students. I'm all for it. That's why I'm in Children's Ministry. Reaching children and students is of the utmost importance.

That being said...the flip side is we can't get so focused on just the next generation, that we ignore or write off other generations that need Christ as well.

A healthy family is made up of grandparents, parents, students, and children. I believe a healthy church family will also consist of grandparents, parents, students, and children.

If your congregation is all gray hair, then this can be a sign of unhealthiness. The flip side is the unhealthiness of having very little gray hair in your congregation. The body of Christ is not just one generation...it's all generations.

Take the Baby Boomers for example.
  • They were born between 1946 and 1964.
  • They are called Baby Boomers because there was a boom in births after WW II. During these years, over 79 million people were born. 
  • On February 11, 2011 the Baby Boomers began turning 65.
  • This generational segment constitutes a large majority of today's law firm leaders, corporate executives, senior paralegals and legal managers. In fact, nearly 70 percent of law firm partners are Baby Boomers.
  • Baby Boomers are extremely hardworking and motivated by position, perks and prestige. 
  • Baby Boomers are confident, independent and self-reliant. This generation grew up in an era of reform and believe they can change the world. They questioned established authority systems and challenged the status quo. In the legal workplace, Baby Boomers are not afraid of confrontation and will not hesitate to challenge established practices.
  • With increased educational and financial opportunities than previous generations, Baby Boomers are achievement-oriented, dedicated and career-focused. They welcome exciting, challenging projects and strive to make a difference.
  • Since Baby Boomers equate work and position with self-worth, they are quite competitive in the workplace. They are clever, resourceful and strive to win. Boomers believe in hierarchical structure and rankism and may have a hard time adjusting to workplace flexibility trends. 
  • They listen to rock and roll, which was the expression of their generational identity.

"All Gens" need Christ as their Savior. Stats show that most people who accept Christ as their Leader and Forgiver do so when they are a child. That's a big reason why it's so important to pour resources into Children and Student Ministry. But that doesn't mean we should ignore a large portion of our society who also desperately needs Christ.

Family Ministry should include "All Gens." I believe we should not only partner with parents...but with grandparents as well. Grandparents can have a huge spiritual impact on their grandchildren. My sons live many miles from their grandfather, but I cherish the times they can be with him. When he speaks into their lives, they listen.

And in many cases, the grandparents are the parents. The latest census shows that over 2 1/2 million children are being raised by their grandparents in the US. We have a lot of kids being brought to church by their grandparents and I'm sure you do as well.

"All Gens" should have opportunities to serve. Don't think that Baby Boomers have the "I've done my time and now I'm resting" attitude. Today Baby Boomers have the highest volunteer rate of any age group.

Baby Boomers exhibit many characteristics that make for good volunteers. David Eisner, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, said at a White House Conference, "America’s Baby Boomers are an untapped resource of extraordinary proportions. They are the largest, healthiest, best-educated generation in history – and they can leave an incredible legacy through service to others."

They are moving across our sight line and we cannot afford to miss out on the volunteer possibilities.

One of the greatest ministry experiences I have had is baptizing three generations together. A grandfather, father, and son were all baptized at the same time. I can't begin to express the joy that was in the room as all three stood in the water and embraced.

What are your thoughts on this? How can we more effectively reach all gens? How can we partner with grandparents so they can help disciple their grandkids? How can we get all gens involved in service?

How about some "All Gen" ministry!

Posted by Dale Hudson

2 comments:

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