Church is a family. Jesus makes this clear in Matthew 12:49-50. When we believe that Jesus Christ died and rose again, redeeming us from our sin, we become adopted sons and daughters of God. As adopted family members in God’s family, we are instructed to love one another, teach one another, and spur one another on in the faith. We find this throughout the New Testament (NT): Hebrews 10:24-25, Romans 12:10-13, Colossians 3:16, Acts 2:42-47 and many more! The trouble is putting this into practice.
It is easy to love, teach, and spur those whom you get along well with, but what about the family members that are difficult? A large church such as Cornerstone has many generations of Christians worshiping the Lord, which presents a unique set of challenges when it comes to the NT instructions to build each other up. We do a good job of building up the family members that are in the same life stage as us. Look at the thriving ministries of Kids, Youth, Young Adult, Women’s/Men’s, Care, and so on! The difficulty though lies in older generations investing in younger generations.
Younger generations can come across as annoying and unwilling to learn, older generations seem uninterested and judgmental. Are these indications that we shouldn’t bother with intergenerational ministry and instead stay within age-specific boundaries? Does the Bible instruct us to engage in intergenerational ministry?
In short, yes. Moses instructed the Israelites to impart God’s commandments and miracles to the younger generations in Deuteronomy 4:9 and Deuteronomy 6:4-9. Additional instruction can be seen in action throughout the Old Testament in places like:
• Deuteronomy 29:10-12, when Moses addresses all the generations of Israel for the last time
• 2 Chronicles 20:13, when Jehoshaphat and Jahaziel remind all the generations of Israel of who God is and His ability to deliver them from their attackers
• Nehemiah 8:2-3 and 12:43, when Ezra reads the Law aloud to all the generations of Israel so that they might trust and obey God
Younger generations in Israel were not only included, but they were drawn in, assimilated, and absorbed with a deep sense of belonging. We see this in Psalms as the writers reflect on the importance of passing on your faith, and testifying about God’s mighty works (Psalm 74 and 145:4).
This practice of welcoming the younger generation and passing on the faith can be found in the New Testament as well. Jesus models this inclusion of all generations, specifically children, through His ministry. Going so far as to tell His followers that welcoming a child into their midst was akin to welcoming Him and the One who sent Him (Matthew 10:42, Matthew 11:25-26, Matthew 18:2-6, Matthew 18:10, Matthew 19:13-14, Matthew 21:16, Mark 10:13-16 & Luke 9:46-48.
With these Scriptures in mind, Junior High ministry decided to take the first step towards intergenerational ministry – building relationship. We did this at our recent event Tournament Night. Tournament Night was a blast! Junior high students and people from Men’s and Women’s ministry had loads of fun playing various games throughout the exciting night. This event was the first of many that aim at integrating the generations present in our Cornerstone church family. The result? Participants of all ages enjoying laughs, victories, stories, and good memories together. God is building fellowship between the young and old generations, I look forward to seeing what He will do in the future.
"A large church such as Cornerstone has many generations of Christians worshiping the Lord, which presents a unique set of challenges when it comes to the NT instructions to build each other up."
"Younger generations in Israel were not only included, but they were drawn in, assimilated, and absorbed with a deep sense of belonging."
"Tournament Night was a blast! Junior high students and people from Men’s and Women’s ministry had loads of fun playing various games throughout the exciting night."