Thursday, August 27, 2009

Coming apart at the seams...

More than once, Dunedin City Baptist (the church I attend) has provided separate services for young adults (including students through to thirty-year-olds and older). Almost invariably, they've come apart at the seams. The latest edition is just about to come to an end, due to dwindling numbers.

Interestingly enough, Collin Hansen is writing about the same topic on the Out of Ur blog this week, and noting that churches that have set up separate Gen X services have generally come a cropper at some point. Part of the problem, of course, is that Gen X people eventually grow up.

But the bigger issue is that building a service around a separate 'culture' just makes it plain difficult to encourage these people into the main 'culture' whenever that time arrives. DCBC has been fortunate that many of the young people go to the main service in the morning anyway, so they're reasonably well engrafted into the church as a whole. But many other churches have never managed to integrate these younger people into their (whole) church, and at the end of the day, these people drift off, who knows where.

Here's one of the best quotes from the article, from Dan Kimball: "I feel that if we can see church as the people, and not just define church by the worship gathering, a lot would be solved in bridging generations," Kimball said. "We could focus more on the older mentoring the younger, the older opening their homes and being sages and guides to the younger. Instead we focus so much on getting the twenty-somethings into the main worship gathering. But just sitting in a room for an hour and half looking at the backs of everyone's heads does not make something intergenerational."

It takes no effort to agree with this. My boss has a saying: the whole church resourcing the whole church. This applies here, too: the whole church, young and old, serving/resourcing the whole church, young and old. The young have gifts, the old have gifts. Let's share them around, rather than separate them off.

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