By Matt Dawson
What does a multi-generational church look like?
As for you, Titus, promote the kind of living that reflects wholesome teaching. Teach the older men to exercise self-control, to be worthy of respect, and to live wisely. They must have sound faith and be filled with love and patience. Similarly, teach the older women to live in a way that honors God. They must not slander others or be heavy drinkers. Instead, they should teach others what is good. These older women must train the younger women to love their husbands and their children, to live wisely and be pure, to work in their homes, to do good, and to be submissive to their husbands. Then they will not bring shame on the word of God. In the same way, encourage the young men to live wisely. And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Titus 2:1-7
The church I ministered to last weekend for LoveLife Charlotte was the a-typical picture of a multi-generation church. It was a small country church in Marshville, NC. They had a good amount of retired and elderly adults, several parents in their 30 s & 40s and their kids, and some young singles & young families with babies! This is what I was told a MULTI-GENERATIONAL CHURCH LOOKED LIKE.
After watching the message Don preached last weekend, I had an epiphany! Towards the end of his message he showed us that much of how we see spiritual growth matches what we see in physical growth. From infancy to adolescence, teenage years into adult years. This is the process of maturity. That’s when it became clear for me!
Journey is a multi-generational church in our spiritual growth!
We have many folks in our church (all different ages) that are living in spiritual maturity. This doesn’t mean they’ve “arrived”, but they are strong in their faith, solid in their theological convictions, and regularly apply God’s Word through spiritual disciplines. We have many folks (all different ages) in the awkward adolescent & teen years in their spiritual walk. They know enough to be dangerous at times, but they are FILLED with amazing energy and potential when focused in the right direction. We also have many babies (all different ages) that are BRAND NEW in their walk with Jesus.
HOW AWESOME IS THAT!
This epiphany has filled me with incredible joy and patience for our wonderful church body! Why? Because we are looking more and more like the church Paul describes in Titus 2! Maybe at one time, age and spiritual maturity went hand in hand in Titus’s time. However, in our current culture – spiritual maturity shows up in all different ages different. This means the path of growth for a 50 year old that is still new to faith LOOKS DIFFERENT than the 28 year old who’s been a devoted follower of Jesus since their elementary age.
The SIGN OF A HEALTHY CHURCH is ALL AGES & STAGES.
Many fundamental believers want to rush to the conclusion that a HEALTHY CHURCH is a church full of MATURE BELIEVERS. I don’t think that’s correct – not from what I see in Titus 2. We need ALL forms of growth to be happening in a healthy church. Do we need MATURE BELIEVERS? YES! However, we also need babies – NEW BELIEVERS that don’t know anything yet! We also need everything in between. We need the innocence of adolescent believers as they learn healthy disciplines…we need the passion and energy of spiritual teenagers that do incredible things for God (even as they struggle, rebel, and push the limits to make their faith personal).
Journey is a Healthy Church AS LONG AS WE CONTINUE GROWING!
It’s the reason we did this message series. Everyone experiences areas of arrested development along the journey. It’s okay…but it’s NOT OKAY TO STAY THERE! Our desire as a church is to see EVERYONE continue to GROW in their own faith journey and be ALL IN for the table God has prepared for them.
This weekend, I’ll close the series with the dangers of “playing it safe” with what God has entrusted to us when we experience arrested development! I hope to see you at Journey this weekend!