Every Christian church should have certain similarities. For example, every church should all be about two main functions given to us by Jesus Himself. Those two functions are (1) to help people come to a place of receiving Jesus and (2) to help people grow into a mature and devoted follower of Jesus.
But every Christian church also has its unique distinctives. These distinctives reflect how one church may be different from the church down the street. And for many, these uniquenesses are what help people choose one church over another. One of the distinctives of LBF is that we are a multi-generational community. This distinctive has its own special challenges, but it also has some wonderful benefits.
On the challenge side, the truth is there are weekly frustrations related to being a multi-generational church. Just think for a minute about the generational makeup of our Sunday morning services. On any given Sunday we have people attending that range in age from 19 to 89. Can you imagine the difficulty in designing a service that meets the needs of this large and varied age group?
Someone says, “We need a choir anthem where we can hear the vocal parts, because THAT is worship.” Another says, “A choral feature song is more like a performance than worship. It’s not real; it’s not relevant.” One says, “Those people leading worship in jeans are disrespecting God and it sounds like a rock concert, including lights and sound. It’s just a show.” Still another remarks, “The lights, the quality of musicians, and the high-energy praise really helps me to worship God.” And here are two separate comments about the same Sunday experience written on our KIT cards: “The music is so loud I have to put my fingers in my ears” and “The energy in worship this morning was awesome!” Ephesians 4:3 says, “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” But I have observed that where there are multiple generations, there is angst. So let me caution each generation, especially regarding music styles, that what we are doing is coming together to lift one voice in praise and celebration of Jesus. With multiple generations, a tension will always exist. But when we come together, willing to be flexible, the result can be amazing.
I really believe that while the difficulties of reaching multi-generations are huge, the benefits far outweigh the challenges. Older members provide wisdom, experience, faithfulness, and commitment. The younger church member
desperately needs the example and counsel of older, wiser members. And now that I am in my ’60s, I also grasp how much we need the energy, passion, and fresh thinking of the young.
A church committed to reaching multiple generations can actually see Scripture lived out, with the older women training the younger women (Titus 2:4) and the older men encouraging the younger men (Titus 2:6). When the older members are wiser, they understand how much they need the life that younger adults bring and how it’s critical to the mission and vision of the church. When younger adults truly desire to become Christ-like, they intentionally seek out those who have experienced the bumps and blessings of life.
For many years LBF has walked the path of being a multi-generational church.
And even with all its difficulties, we will continue to be a multi-generational church because we believe its benefits far out weigh its challenges.