In your ministry or organization, I’m sure you want God’s design for perpetually-renewing intergenerational ministry and leadership. And you want your organizational team to embrace it, too.
In my organization, we have a structural design that means every year we have many intergenerational teams working together in ministry and leadership. Our mission is to help the next generation get ready to speak, and to do that effectively with lasting impact, we had to get intentional about how intergenerational mentoring and collaboration works best.
You have been entrusted with people.
As leaders, we have been entrusted with people. What does it mean to be entrusted? I think about that quite a lot as a founding president and a CEO.
God’s people are our greatest asset. A rich, beautiful, generous, precious resource in our organizations.
So, how are our people being talked about? Sometimes the people that we are entrusted with on our teams have been hurt because of words that have been spoken. Do any of these sound familiar?
- “[Young people] always think they know everything.”
- “Probably there’s no period in history in which young people have given such emphatic utterance to a tendency to reject that which is old and to wish for that which is new.”
- “This generation represents everything that’s wrong with the world.”
That first one? A quote by Aristotle written down in the 4th century B.C.
The second was written almost a century ago in 1933 in the Portsmouth Evening News.
The third is a sentiment that’s thrown around so often one Millennial Christian author wrote:
Hearing that your generation is “everything wrong with the world” ad nauseam for the better part of two decades is going to reap some serious collateral damage.
And it has. Whether or not you believe you’ve contributed to this problem, we need to recognize that we’ve all inherited it. Younger generations have been hearing these messages in surround sound about what’s wrong with them. And more mature members of our teams often feel their experience or contribution is no longer valued.
In an article published in Christianity Today Russell Moore recently wrote, “For many people, cynicism is a product not of a fighting spirit but of a broken heart.“
We are entrusted with these aching hearts. Each one is a precious gift to our ministry. But we must acknowledge that intergenerational ministry is not burden-free, unblemished, and whole from the start. It’s incredibly valuable and must be nurtured with intention and care.
Take a moment and think about your organization’s teams. If you can, jot them down along with their members. Teams you lead, teams you serve on. Governance teams, operational teams, production teams, executive teams – whatever you title yours.
Now, take a look at this chart – one of the most common generational typologies in today’s research which gives you a breakdown of generations. Can you identify which team members fall into which generation?
Let’s consider: does your organization work with intergenerational teams, or is one team composed mostly of a single generation while another team has members from a separate generation? These are each different dynamics.
In this series I’ll address the idea of stewarding the teams and the people with whom we’ve been entrusted.
Leave a comment about what’s going well on your teams. And what you’re struggling with. I’m looking forward to hearing from you.