How can churches attract the next generation? What are the common misconceptions that more seasoned leaders have about the emerging generation? According to Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson, during this week’s Willow Creek Association webcast, inter-generational ministry is essential to building a thriving church.
The culture and faith experience of this generation differs substantially from that of previous ones. Many of those in the emerging generation want to connect with churches that are defined by what they are “for” rather than what they are “against”. Rather than asking the same questions of the generation before them, the next generation is asking “how should I live now” (rather than “what do I want to leave behind when I die”).
In order to move toward ministry that is truly inter-generational, wise leaders will purposefully blend and collaborate with leaders of different ages. Beyond hiring young leaders, here are a few ways to collaborate:
- Prayer: Older and younger leaders need to pray together and build relationships.
- Build Trust: They need to socialize together outside of the office and build trust.
- Make Decisions Together: Most importantly, seasoned leaders need to empower younger leaders to speak into important church decisions – as those decisions will directly impact a younger leader’s future ministry.
The younger generation wants destiny while the older generation wants legacy. As church leaders, what are some ways that you’re working to build inter-generational collaboration?
Questions for team discussion:
- Think about the formative cultural, technological and societal events from your early years. How have those shaped your world view?
- Do you see differences in the ways that different generations in your church relate to ministry? Name those. Why do you think that is?
- How is your church doing in hiring, building relationship and empowering younger leaders? In what specific ways can your church take a “next step” to move toward building inter-generational leadership?
- What decisions is your church making right now that could impact the ministry of next generation leaders? Have younger leaders been consulted? What can you do to draw younger leaders into these decisions?