The other day I wrote a post on Deuteronomy and the idea that the church needs to be a place that connects the generations. We Timothys (the younger peeps) need Pauls (the older, faithful saints) to help us know, understand, and learn from the past, and to help us keep looking towards the future.
Anyone who is anyone will tell you that in church life (or: anywhere else) this isn’t the easiest thing. For whatever reasons, we let style get in the way or relationship substance. Without wise leadership the older generations can feel like the younger are trying to take over the church and chuck the traditions out the window, baby, bathwater, and all. The younger generation can feel like they have a hard time connecting with and seeing the profitability in some of the traditions and wonder why the older generation wants to stubbornly drag their feet.
Tensions mount, other bad stuff happens. Fellowship doesn’t.
So how do we bridge the gap? How do we encourage connection and relationship building across the generational divide? I ask this more as an open forum and less a “here let me give you five answers” post. Because frankly, as a pastor in my mid-30s, I don’t have the answers. I’ve found myself connecting well with my church members about a decade younger than me; and connecting mildly well with those several decades older than me (oddly, it’s the ones my own age I have the most trouble with).
In my ministry experience, the younger people in my church would love more interaction with the older people but feel largely ignored. The older people wouldn’t mind more interaction with the younger people but feel they can’t relate.
So, brothers and sisters: how do we bridge the gap? How do we connect the generations and raise up Pauls and Timothys?