After working with churches for most of my life I’ve come to realize we believe in a few myths. One that I believe is damaging many churches today is what I call The Myth of the Multigenerational Church.
The myth is this – the traditional church style results in a church with all generations represented. We are going to do a blended format and that will accommodate everyone’s worship preference.
A previous church asked me how I felt about their commitment to be multigenerational. I told them that is wonderful. I believe that we should reach all people. However I’m not okay with that terminology IF we are using it to make it okay to only reach the older generation while not trying to invest in young people. I didn’t know it then but that is exactly what this church was doing. The senior pastor even admitted it to me later. They were reaching senior adults with great success- which is awesome. However they were failing to reach young adults, students, and kids.
Another reason this is a myth is that many ‘contemporary’ churches are reaching senior adults. I remember visiting Passion City Church in Atlanta several months ago. The first thing that I noticed was how many senior adults were serving in the parking lot ministry. As Jen and I sat down in the service we were both surprised to see how many generations were represented around us. Many moms, dads, grandmas, granddads, and young adults were worshipping together. I was surprised, but not shocked. I’ve also seen this at North Point Community Church where I have served as a volunteer.
It is a myth that the blended or traditional style church are reaching more generations. I’m not sure any style gives you more of an advantage of reaching every generation. A significant number of Generation X and Baby Boomers are attending churches with a contemporary format. Also a significant number of the Millenials are going to more traditional formats (although more liturgical style than SBC traditional).
Do you want to be multigenerational? Then focus on reaching the next generation.
Invest heavily in kids and student ministries. Make age graded ministry a huge emphasis in your church. The next generation should be part of the primary mission of your church.
Generations tend to follow where the young people are going. Most parents want to go where their kids are going to be loved and discipled. Grandparents want to see their grandkids come to know Jesus. Senior adults want to see their legacy live on in the church through those little ones in the nursery.
Babies, preschoolers, children, and teenagers make the church exciting for everyone. No matter the worship style.
Continue to visit nursing homes and the homebound.
Continue to have a great ministry to the senior adults. Take them on mission trips. Encourage them to also invest in the next generation by serving in the age graded ministries.
Have awesome marriage conferences. Bring in the best women’s speakers for your women’s events.
However let’s reach the next generation for Jesus. It will take focus and investment.
You can’t be multigenerational if you aren’t reaching the next generation.