At Ingleside we often say, “We are a multi-generational church with a next-generation orientation.” Why is this important to affirm?
First, it’s because Scripture assumes that healthy churches will have more than a single generation present. When you read the Apostle Paul’s letter to Titus you find instruction for “older men” and “older women” and “young women” and “younger men.” (cf. Titus 2:1-8). In other of the epistles (e.g., Ephesians 6, Colossians 3), there is specific instruction for both parents and their children – the current generation and the next generation. The implication is that the healthiest of churches have multiple generations involved.
But why? Why is a multi-generational church healthier in the long run than a single-generation church? It’s because the Scripture assumes that there will be teaching and training that occurs from one generation to the next.
Of course, this next-generational training is to occur first and foremost in a believing home. Fathers and mothers are to disciple their sons and daughters (cf. Deuteronomy 6:4-9). And, children are to honor and value the example and instruction of their parents (Proverbs 1:8).
But, the training of the next-generation is also to occur in the church. In the body of Christ, those with more life experience and spiritual maturity are expected to mentor and disciple those who are younger and not as mature in Christ.
Psalm 78 speaks explicitly to this question. It says: “We will . . . tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done” (v. 4). The goal is that the “next generation . . . should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (vv. 6-7).
On March 14-15, we will be hosting a parenting conference at Ingleside to help parents and grandparents fulfill this God-given responsibility to disciple the next generation. More information and registration is here. I look forward to seeing you at the conference!