It’s no secret that America is aging. The number of people 65 years of age and older will double by 2050 (New York Times). Those demographic changes will mean a lot for churches, also in the midst of an aging population. As the country—and its churches age, the internal dynamics of organizations will change.
The one asset the church has that no other institution possesses is its representation of the body of Christ on earth. And with such an asset, the church is in the unique position to demonstrate the beauty of God’s creation not only for its congregants but also for the world.
One way this manifests itself is through generations. Some churches are relatively young, reaching mainly young, urban professionals. Other churches tend to attract an older cohort. Regardless of the church and its context, one way to strengthen the church is to find ways to combine generations into one cohesive body—making it stronger.
This is a step Victory is engaging in as we continue to grow and promote the intergenerational nature of our congregation. Recently, the ECFA printed a short article on four ways an intergenerational church can look like:
1. Leadership is represented by people of all ages. A truly inter-generational church will include pastors, leaders, musicians and volunteers from all walks of life and age groups. Not just older folks in leadership and younger folks leading the worship team. Our REACH team is a great example of this at VCF.
2. The church provides opportunities to grow relationships with people from various age groups. Sunday morning worship can be the best time for a congregation to come together as a community. But we want to foster relationship opportunities with young and old, either by mentoring or discipleship. One great way to do this is to find opportunities to worship and break bread together as an intergenerational community of God.
3. The church provides activities that cater to all people. Lots of churches have small groups that are segmented based on age or life stage: young adults, young marrieds, adult Bible study, youth groups, retired, etc. While these groups tend to enjoy activities on their own, it’s also important to have all-church events. These events should attempt to encompass the interests of every age group. They are also great opportunities for the 25-year-old tech entrepreneur to engage with the 65-year-old recently retired plumber, and our families with maturing families that have been through child raising and share tips and support.
4. Messages from the pulpit—and examples in the life of the church—should communicate the blessings of an intergenerational community. We are all the body of Christ represented in our own unique ways. A congregation is its strongest and most ready to impact its world for Christ when all its members feel encouraged, embodied and emboldened. We try to emphasize the value of the entire range of generations at VCF, from babies to our seniors.
These are just some ways we can serve and encourage each other as we build our faith together by using the gifts God has given His church..