My generation by-and-large seems hell-bent on frustrating an emerging generation of “millennials”. We do this by either ignoring, or alternatively uncritically catering to, the prevailing postmodern sensibilities of an emerging “millennial” generation.
Too few churches, it seems to me, have become the type of participatory, open communities that I see in the New Testament and that I see millennials crave – where there is cross-generational fellowship, respect and ministry one to another.
Healthy “church”, it also seems to me, must include the natural dynamic of a new generation emerging into influence, ministry and leadership within a multi-generational framework.
Absent a mult-generational framework, my generation will become stodgy old farts without energy or life. We need to give millennials leeway to shake things up, while also becoming mentors to them in what remains standing.
Likewise, my generation may see a few bubbles that legitimately need to be popped among the millennials.
We need each other. Only as we interact can we burst our old rigid wine skins and forge common vision by becoming authentically comprehensive expressions of Christ’s Body – the church.
A big obstacle to this, however, is the lethargy of my generation.
Too many of us – including our leaders – have settled into the easy familiarity of settled complacency.
We’ve paid a high price for what we’ve learned and legitimately achieved over the years, and now lack the energy to reproduce what’s good – while discerning what’s not – from our own journeys.
We’ve become old farts, set in our ways.
As a result, we’ve turned our churches into cocoons built around our generational sensibilities – just as surely as fellowships and movements which cater only to millennials likewise have become protective cocoons for their sensibilities.
Unfortunately, however, neither kind of cocoon will produce metamorphosis and new life. Rather, they simply shelter both generations from growth and change.
Me? I choose to embrace growth and change because God’s Kingdom, while built on a firm foundation that includes God’s propositional truths and the lessons learned by those saints who have gone before us, is nonetheless progressive! And I refuse to miss out on what God wants to do, and is doing, with this new generation.
Some generational millennials have seen the folly of an overly “emergent,” post-modern and subjective faith. They recognize that although they are different, and have much to say which is good and needed, they really are not superior to any prior generation and have much to learn from others.
Likewise, some in my generation understand the folly of an overly propositional, directed faith. They recognize that it is good to allow an upcoming generation to shake things up and prove what is really of God.
Among those who “get it” and are willing to embrace the blessings of cross-generational fellowship, don’t give up! Let’s push forward and take our rightful place together at the Lord’s table.