Whenever a crime takes place in an area with many people, the officer gets different witnesses to share what they saw. Each witness might have the same basis of the story, but each person has a different perspective to share. In the same way, as believers, when we surround ourselves with diverse generations, we can have a similar goal but come at it from different angles.
Here are four benefits of having a multi-generational community.
There is a well-known Bible verse from Ecclesiastes 1:9 which says, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.” We see this in fashion trends cycling back through. We see it in sinful decisions of cultures. We experience it when our parents say, “I did that too when I was your age.”
There is a wealth of knowledge when we listen to those who have gone before us. We can learn from their mistakes and we can glean from their positive experiences. We can get insight and advice about our circumstances and gain understanding of the history of the believers who paved the way for us today.
There are Bible verses that share the value in seeking wise counsel from others. Although a young person can have the gift of wisdom, an older person is capable of having more wisdom because wisdom is knowledge applied. They have lived a longer life and have gained more knowledge and lived out their experiences. Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” There is great reward in taking the advice given by godly people who are older than ourselves.
In the same way that learning from those who are older is valuable, learning from younger generations is also a precious gift. 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
I used to serve in a ministry for young women with an amazing woman and friend who was thirty years older than me. The beautiful part of our time serving together was that we both had mutual respect for one another. Even though I had a lot to learn, this woman invested in me, but also valued what I could teach her about the next generation. The way she modeled humility and kindness to me and supported me must have been how Timothy felt under the wing of Paul. Paul had a lot of life experience on Timothy, but he entrusted Timothy with responsibility, and he was his friend.
2 Timothy 2:2 says, “And what you have heard from me through many witnesses, entrust to faithful people who will be able to teach others as well.” Not only was Timothy mentored by Paul, he was also called to invest in the lives of others. This model of perpetual discipleship propels us to do the same.
Because of the beautiful model of respecting those younger, I now also desire to encourage, learn from, and understand the next generations. There is a freshness about being with zealous young people in the faith. As our world continues to move towards the end of times and sin runs rampant, may we not forget that God has a generation of young warriors rising up and representing Him.
The enemy loves to use differences as dividers, but the Holy Spirit uses them as unifiers. From the beginning, God created variety. He made each kind of animal, every unique and exotic plant, the puffy clouds, the stars in the sky, all of the planets, the tiniest grain of sand and the vast universe.
When I sit in groups with many ages, it is a diverse range of perspectives. Yes, we might pick on each other for our quirks and weaknesses, but we love one another. When one person is strong in a certain area, the other can aid in his strength. For example, the young person can help the older navigate technology. When the older friend can assist in teaching budgeting skills or home repair.
We may have grown up with different toys. We might use various slang terms. We may even have diverse values. However, what holds us together as the family of God is Jesus Himself. When we are tempted to think we have nothing in common with someone from another generation, may we be reminded of the common thread that is Christ.
We were all dead in our sins, but Jesus made us alive again. Are we selfishly desiring our musical preferences in church? Are we placing blame or judgment on an age demographic? Are we causing separations by placing others in a category far away from ourselves? Jesus is the glue that holds us together. When we understand the love of God, we desire to share that with others.
Many times, the church itself can live out generational unity poorly. We put each other in boxes based on if someone is traditional or contemporary. We label as too outdated or too forward-thinking. The fact that groups of people might be different, but God and His word stays the same, is comforting.
For people who do not like change, different generations can be challenging. However, do not let the age gaps prevent genuine community. Spend time with people who are in a variety of seasons of life. Listen to those who are older. Be encouraged by the faith of those who are younger. Consider being a part of a small group or a ministry when you will be intentional about learning from different generations. At the end of the day, we are all people created in the image of the Lord.
Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Deagreez
Emma Danzey’s mission in life is to inspire young women to embrace the extraordinary. One of her greatest joys is to journey with the Lord in His Scriptures. Emma is a North Carolina resident and green tea enthusiast! She is married to her husband Drew and they serve international college students. She enjoys singing, dancing, trying new recipes, and watching home makeover shows. During her ministry career, Emma recorded two worship EP albums, founded and led Polished Conference Ministries, ran the Refined Magazine, and served in music education for early childhood. Currently, she is in the editing stages of her first two writing projects: a Bible study on womanhood and a non-fiction book on singleness. You can visit her blog at emmadanzey.wordpress.com