The generation gap in the church

One of the biggest challenges in the church today is: being and experiencing church together with old and young. We all believe that everyone, young and old, belongs in the church. I haven’t met anyone in recent years who thinks otherwise. But what does this show and why is it often difficult to make the church a real family unit? It largely has to do with the cultural difference between the generations. Older people and young people grew up in a completely different time, with an associated different culture. Different norms and values, different forms and a different experience of faith mean that we practice faith in God in a different way. The special thing is that we still share the same faith content. In recent years, as a youth worker, I have noticed that every denomination is dealing with this and struggling with this. Both evangelical congregations and traditional churches. I notice that each of these movements has its own unique challenges and opportunities in this area. Because cultural differences are the biggest cause of the gap between old and young, I want to discuss this further. table generations Today, the emotional lives of young people play a very important role in the choices they make and what they believe. If something feels good, young people are quickly inclined to think that it is also good. The latter is of course not always the case. An experience with the supernatural world at a paranormal fair can feel very good, but it is not. A touch with God’s love in a dream or on the bike to school or work feels good and it is. Our feelings cannot distinguish whether it is actually good. Sexuality outside of marriage can feel wonderful, but it is not what God intended. Struggles in a marriage do not feel good, which is why we are quickly tempted to divorce these days. But how do we know the difference between ‘good and evil’ if we only rely on our feelings? Knowledge plays an important role in this. Previously, having knowledge almost determined what and how you believed. Knowledge makes you discover more and more who God is. Knowledge is still crucial. Without knowledge we cannot arrive at the Only Way to God. However, we also want to feel and experience our relationship with God today. If that is not the case, we quickly start to doubt our faith. If we, as an older generation in the church, do not take the culture of the new generation into account, the youth will hardly be reached. On the other hand, it is important that young people learn to understand the experiences of older people. There are various options for this that I may blog about another time. A youth evening or service in the community also needs atmosphere. The teenagers and young people will have to feel ‘comfortable’ if we really want to reach them. If we do not take this into account, they will drop out and experience the church as outdated. Another major difference between the cultures is evident from the changed, or even disappeared, norms and values. Patience and loyalty used to be values ​​that we held in high regard in society and that we passed on to the new generation. Because today we can quickly get what we want in all kinds of areas and no longer really have to wait for a positive experience, we have less and less patience. This makes it difficult for us to be faithful and persevere. After all, we have been able to find more than enough satisfaction and relaxation in other areas. Why do we still need God, the reasoning goes? Don’t we have everything our heart desires? As Royal Mission we believe in the church and its bright future. We see the differences between the elderly and the young and have a vision to help the church to be a true family unit. As Royal Mission, we consciously invest in teenage and youth workers in the local church. We do this, among other things, through our youth work training. A place where volunteers, youth elders/pastors and youth workers are inspired and equipped to reach young people in the church. Curious about the youth work training, click HERE to read more.

About Gerlof Wiersma

Man van Margreet - Vader van drie kanjers - Jeugdwerker, spreker en gepassioneerd voor de PKN

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