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22 & 23 June 2024 (Pastoral Page) TOWARDS AN INTERGENERATIONAL CHURCH

By Asst Ps Elaine Ng


Earlier this month, we kicked off Intergen month where our pulpit series would focus on appreciating and understanding the Young Persons, Mid-lifers and Seniors in our midst and the challenges they face as they journey into our common destiny in Christ.


This weekend, it’s one of those precious times where the primary level children (who ordinarily attend Kids for Christ), the Youth (who normally attend Teenacity) and Young Adults (who ordinarily attend CRUX) will attend the Saturday or Sunday English services. From ushering to refreshments, scripture readers to worship team, ice breakers to audio visuals, the services will involve representatives of each of the following generations:

  • Silent/Baby Boomer Generation (>55) or Seniors

  • Gen X (36-55) or Mid-Lifers

  • Gen Y (20-35) or Young Adults

  • Gen Z/Gen Alpha (7-19) or Youth and children

 

We have much to thank God that we are blessed to have different generations worship in the same space together this weekend. Some may wonder why we do not do it more often. Perhaps it may be that we do not celebrate the sameness and embrace the differences in generations enough.

 

As Christians, no matter how young or old we are in physical age or spiritual age, here are some common grounds/beliefs:

-  We are all human beings created in God’s image (Gen 1:27)

-  We are all sinners who need God’s forgiveness (Rom 3:10, 23)

-  God loves us the same (John 3:16)

-  Jesus gave His life for the redemption of all our sin (Matt 20:28)

-  We are saved from eternal separation from God by grace alone through faith in Jesus alone (Eph 2:4-8)

 

You may recognise that when the above are put together and taken as a whole, that is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the same Gospel that we believe in, by which we were saved and which we are called to continue to teach and preach till Jesus comes again.


Look around you today in the sanctuary during the service. While we may look physically different, have different personalities, possess different talents and spiritual gifts, and belong to the different generations, yet together, each believer in this local church is part of the Body of Christ. We are family. Do you realise that if the sister or brother sitting next to you believes in and loves the same Lord Jesus that you do, he or she has been saved and forgiven by the same Lord who saved and forgave you? This is also true even if that brother or sister more than occasionally rubs you the wrong way! What about the brother or sister you’ve not really taken time to get to know because you don’t think you will “click” or with whom you have an unresolved broken relationship? Interestingly, these same “relationship issues'' may be present within each generation in our multi-generational church, let alone across generations. May the Holy Spirit help us recognise that whether the person is in your generation or in another generation, he or she loves and trusts in the same Lord you do. The same Lord who died for you, also died for him or her.

 

Even so, the story of when and how one became a Christian will be quite different, as will be each believer’s continuing journey of faith. Boomer and Gen X-er, why not hear first hand over bubble tea with a younger person how they became Christians and what their questions and challenges concerning the faith are? Gen Ys and Zs, if you have the chance, ask our Founders or those in the Silent/Baby Boomer generations how they first came to hear or know about Jesus and you might learn of how some were persecuted by family members and how some might have gone hungry because they took a stand not to eat food offered to idols. From these, might other generations not learn from them what it means to stand up for our faith in Jesus at the workplace or school?

 

The above are some examples of spiritual conversations we could have to mutually encourage one another towards growing in faith in Christ. There is much to learn from one another by engaging actively with one another in spiritual conversations. This requires us to not think of ourselves more highly than we ought (Rom 12:3) and to honour others above ourselves (Rom 12:10). It also takes intentionality and willingness to go outside our comfort zone to reach out to another person. May we not do this in our own strength but in Christ and through His Spirit’s empowerment.

 

We hope that the Inter-CG meetings, the Intergen Focus this month and this Intergen weekend will have presented you with opportunities to meet, eat, play and pray with others from another generation. But don’t stop there. As Ps Wei-en wrote in his pastoral page at the beginning of this month, let us keep seeking to move from a multi-generational to an inter-generational church, all worshipping the same God who loves us and has called us to Himself.

 

As a famous chorus goes - And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.

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