Congregational vitality is elusive. Church leaders today are looking for ways to invigorate the mission and ministry of their communities. However, many so-called experts today offer only tips, tricks, and techniques that promise renewal, without deep assessment of the congregation’s reason for being. Sadly, tips and tricks fail to provide longterm revitalization. Communities of faith are losing their identities and death is inevitable. Or is it? I am convinced that the breech between generations can be repaired. It won’t be easy, but there are great rewards for those churches who do the hard work.
The Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11, “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions just as I handed them on to you.” The educational ministries of our churches, while adopting developmentally sound, age-appropriate learning strategies, have forgotten the importance of mentoring and handing on the traditions. Separating the generations has created congregations that are declining because our children and youth aren’t encouraged to model their lives on the wisdom of the older members. The older generations have little or no connection with the younger; hence there is no handing on of traditions.
I do not promise that your church will see greater numbers of people or money. What I do promise is that your congregation will have a keen sense of who you are from cradle to grave and gain important strategies for Christian formation that will help you live out your God-given purpose.
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