Over the past couple of weeks, the topic of multigenerational church congregations has come up quite a few times. Clearly, it is a topic on the minds of church leaders, but if you are not familiar with this concept, let me clarify. A multigenerational church congregation is a group of people from a wide range of age groups. There is no particular age group that dominates the church on a given Sunday as you can find people ranging in age from infants to the elderly.
It can be beneficial in many ways for your church to be multigenerational. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that the overall health and long-term growth projections of your church depend on it.
I was recently talking to an older gentleman who was an elder at his church and he made this statement, “I’m thrilled we have people of all different ages at this church. If the whole church looked like me, it would die in a few years, and I want the church to keep going.” He held a strong desire for the church to continue after his passing, but he did not simply want the church to continue after his death but rather he wants the church to grow! For him, this means pouring into the next generation and making space for them to be involved within the church today.
Additionally, a younger pastor (in his 30s) said to me the other day that he gets nervous when he walks into a church, and everyone is in their 20s and 30s. He immediately wonders, “Where are the people with all of the life experience? Who are these people getting wise counsel from? Who is mentoring this congregation?” He went on to explain that when you fail to have people in your congregation who have lived longer, have more life experience, and have true wisdom to share, you are more likely to struggle maturing in Christ as a church body. I agree with his assessment.
As a pastor, let me encourage you to take a hard look at your church and do something that you may not have done in a long time...study the church membership list. Do you have a good representation in all age groups? Are you investing properly in all age groups or are some groups being ignored when it comes to the budget? The church body is made up of many different parts (I Corinthians 12:12), and the body cannot function properly if every part was not present.
As I close out this blog post, I want to encourage you not be discouraged if you find some holes in your church's generational make-up because knowing you have an issue is halfway to the solution. Start working toward attracting visitors from un-represented age groups. Begin meeting with your budget team to ensure money is allocated more evenly throughout the church. Make the right hires for staff members to minister to age groups that may have been ignored in the past. You can lead your church towards more balance between the age groups and, in doing so, create a healthier church that is prepared to better represent Christ for decades to come.