There is a belief out there in the church world that some churches are suited for older folks, and others are best for younger folks. Full disclosure: I used to believe this. But, not anymore.
I'm not sure where this idea got it's origin. Church historians in America can at least trace part of it back to the 1700s when the so-called "worship wars" began.
These intra-church battles over worship style are nothing new. Today's contemporary-verses-traditional is just the latest in the battle over preferences. But, it is only part of a bigger issue in the church, today.
The generation gap doesn't just apply to music stylings. It is church-wide. In the western world, it is common to find churches filled either with a majority of older adults or younger ones. Rare is the church that is blossoming with several generations in its congregation.
But, differences in issues such as leadership styles, programs and music tend to build a separation between the generations.
In much the same way, across America, at least, it is common to find congregations that are either all-white, all-black, all-Hispanic, etc. It isn't that these churches are racist in any way. Instead, just like the generation gap, there is a culture gap that separates people.
This separation, in one word, is unbiblical.
When you look at the life of Jesus, you don't find a man who came for individual age groups or culture groups. He came for all people. He built his Church to draw people to him under one banner.
Peter struggled with this concept. We read in the Bible where Peter struggled with the notion that Jesus was for everyone. When Peter was commanded in a vision to take the message of Christ to the Gentiles, he initially resisted. It didn't make sense to him, even though Jesus commanded the disciples to take the message to the world.
It is human nature to gather with those who share similar qualities and preferences. One generation will like a certain style of preaching and singing, but it won't be the preference of a different generation. The same applies to different cultures of people.
Peter had to put his differences aside, and be intentional about bridging the divide. Sure, he still struggled with it later in life, but he was intentional about making Jesus available for everybody.
We must do the same. What are some ways that you can be intentional about combining generations and cultures within individual churches?