Home Pastors ‘Why Are They Leaving?’ and Questions Like These

‘Why Are They Leaving?’ and Questions Like These

Second, I was most interested in the impact that age segregation could be having on spiritual formation and discipleship within a congregation. Most books and articles I read about age segregation in the church simply stated that churches tended to be age-segregated. And that is easily observed by looking at how church buildings are designed, curriculum is created, and programs are run. But observation alone doesn’t mean that age segregation really exists.

Could parallels between society and church be found and if so, what could they tell us about how age segregation impacted discipleship?

The answer to that question is a dissertation…Literally. That’s what I wrote my doctorate thesis on. So I am not going to bore you with it here suffice it to say…there is an impact. And the impact is such that without spaces and places and ways for intergenerational connection that are intentionally utilized to facilitate meaningful relationships and given the tools and support needs for generational discipleship, our faith is not being passed on from “one generation to another” as Psalm 145 declares.

Our faith is instead being shared only in echo chambers of those who look and sound and think like us. We’re not “passing” anything on because we aren’t in relationship with people who can be passed something.

If you’ve been following ReFocus Ministry over the last few years, you’ve seen a decided shift in the direction of intergenerational ministry. This is partly because of the research I was immersed in. It was partly because of my doctoral courses in spiritual formation and the practice of lifelong discipleship. But it was mostly because I became more and more convinced that this practice of separating the body of Christ based on age and life experience has had and continues to have a huge impact on our call to make disciples.

In the world of KidMin, Youth Ministry, and Family Ministry world, there are many voices speaking into the age-specific and age-sensitive spaces but not as many speaking to this important intergenerational aspect of discipleship.

To be clear, I am not “against” age-specific programs and approaches however, I am unconvinced that while it is the most readily resourced and common approach to ministry, it is the best approach. Everything I’ve read and researched over the past several years has led me to believe, more than ever, that we need each other – together, learning and worshiping and in relationships, growing as the body of Christ, in community. It may not be the easiest path forward and it may take a great deal of creativity and flexibility, but if it leads to the end result of connecting generations in meaningful relationships that lead to discipleship, mentorship, and lifelong faith formation, I believe it’s worth every bit of effort.

This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.