Article by Teresa Chang
As one of the founding members of my church, it is interesting to see our ministry, with its young church leaders, grow over the years. We started off like a tiny plant shoot in the ground, but as the years have gone by, we are now starting to see leaves and branches form. Many of us, once just eager college students on fire for Jesus and ready to serve Him, are now the senior leaders, deacons and elders of our church. Many have served in children’s, youth and college group ministry over the years before being appointed as senior church leaders. The students we led as church small group leaders are now becoming leaders themselves, over their own students. Some of these students are the children of our first generation of leaders, so it is fun to see our former students leading and teaching our own kids, and beautiful to see them coming into their own as leaders.
How many generations are described in 2 Timothy 2:2? Four, if you count Paul. Paul was speaking to his son, who would speak to faithful men, who would teach others also. That is four generations. Paul was essentially saying, “You’ve got to guard these things you’ve seen me do and learned from me. Pass them on to the next generation—multiply yourself into faithful men, who will multiply themselves into other people.” That is how the Body of Christ grows. It is the spiritual version of the original commandment given in Genesis. Do you remember those four amazing statements? Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue it. Intergenerational multiplication is God’s only plan for changing the world, and it begins as the different generations choose to partner together.
Consider these questions:
- How well do you know the older members of your church? What could you do to get to know them better?
- How well do you know the younger members of your church? What could you do to get to know them better?
- How could you train the different generations to work together and rely on one another? What sort of events could you plan? What structures could you build?
We live in a world that separates the generations, so we have to swim against the tide to bring generational unity. Make certain members of all ages feel valued and that their contribution is respected. When your leaders are raising up their trainees to respect and rely on the wisdom of other generations, you will be replicating intergenerational ministry in a healthy way.