We need to be in the same room. It’s important that the exchange isn’t segregated by age or other demographics. The value of the diversity is too rich to sacrifice it for programs or comfort. The potential discomfort has an infinite return on investment but the cost is intentionally staying in the same room.
I had the privilege of leading men on a Quest recently. We went away for five days on an individual pursuit collectively as a group. Each man was invited to chase and encounter God for himself, yet much of the time was in a group setting. There were eighteen year olds, twenty-somethings, forty-somethings and a sixty year old with a seventy-one year old to top it all off.
There were points where the cross-generational transfer was so evident that it was revelatory. Times like:
- When the forty-year old business owner needed the eighteen year old’s raw and sincere expression of the love of God for a generational breakthrough
- When the millennial’s needed the love of a grandfather expressed through the seventy-one year old
- When an eighteen year old needed gentle assistance from a forty-something in harnessing a legitimate passion to display what meekness is
- The forty-something, in that same exchange, seeing meekness differently for himself so that he could walk in it himself
Millennials aren’t “done” with church just because. They are “done,” to some measure, by the lack of value. Value is in the authentic relationship that is expressed across generational lines, not the segregation into a forum with louder music or edgier presentation. They want permission to be who God has created them to be and need the maturity and wisdom of those that have gone ahead of them.
The more mature believers need the fresh infusion of raw expression that the millennials offer. They need to see and feel the zealousness of youth which resists restraint in an abandoned worship. They need the permission to worship like kings that the millennials grant in their authentic pursuit.
All sides need validation. They need validation that they aren’t weird and that we need the other for the greater. We all need to be in the same room pursuing the same God and experiencing Him for ourselves and in each other.