Written By: Bishop Randell O. Drake, New Horizons Ministries Conference Superintendent
Mothers. Fathers. Sisters. Brothers. Daughters. Sons.
Women. Men. Girls. Boys.
Children. Youth. Young Adults. Middle Aged. Senior Adults.
Family. It is so important throughout the Bible, in our lives and in our churches. So, why do many of our churches ignore the importance of All Generations being involved in church leadership and ministry teams?
The Apostle Paul instructs Timothy, as a young leader, to set an example in conduct, to not rebuke the older generation, to view younger individuals as his brothers and sisters while seeing older individuals as mothers and fathers. (1 Timothy 4:12-15; 5:1-2) If the Church is so willing to accept Paul’s admonitions and instructions on subjects as varied as church discipline, marital/family relationships, worship, deacon qualifications, prayer, attitudes, and holy living, why are we slow to include All Generations as part of the leadership team?
The questions must be asked and answers must be found. As a pastor, and now, conference bishop, I discovered the importance and value of including All Generations in church leadership teams. Children and youth provide fresh insights with little “baggage” from previous experiences, hurts, or struggles. Young and middle aged adults deliver stability and giftings in leadership. Senior adults offer wisdom from experience and knowledge. All Generations serving together.
Not everyone has been happy with my decisions, but we all benefit from collective ministry. Do the younger ones sometimes make mistakes, need guidance, and think they “know it all”? Yes. Are the older ones occasionally set in their ways, comfortable with the status quo, and unyielding to the next generation? Yes. Are there disagreements, opinions and some boisterous conversations? Yes. Do church leadership teams look and act like a family reunion with all ages involved? YES!
It’s not always easy to move toward an All Generations leadership model, but it is Biblical and important. When our churches start following Paul’s coaching and teaching, and see All Generations as members of God’s earthly and heavenly family (Ephesians 3:15), we will become a Church for and of All Generations.
Here are some keys:
- Start where you are as a church. Keep effective leadership in place as you begin to enlist other individuals, young and old.
- Don’t be afraid of releasing the less experienced to lead after a sufficient time of training and guidance. We MUST equip and release individuals into their divine destiny. Remember, we all started somewhere, sometime as leaders.
- Don’t let younger, less experienced, individuals take on too many leadership responsibilities too soon; BUT don’t hold them back too long, either. This takes patience from everyone – young and old.
- Don’t push aside older, more experienced, individuals in favor of an ALL youth movement; you lose wisdom and advisors in the process.
- If you are older, mentor someone else for your position. Prepare and train someone else so you can “pass the baton” in this amazing relay of ministry.
- If you are younger, accept the information, insight and intelligence of those who have “been there, done that.”
- Learn to be risk takers in leadership. You never walk on water if you don’t get out of the boat. You never find the next leaders if you don’t allow others – younger or older – to be released into service.
ALL GENERATIONS. It’s God’s way. It’s real Church. It’s Family. It should be US!