Written By: W. A. Mills, Jr.
The imperative for intergenerational ministry is throughout the Bible. Found in passages such as the Jewish Shemah, recorded in Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (NLT) 4“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. 5And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. 6And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. 7Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up.” The psalmist underscores this imperative in Psalm 78:5-6 (NLT) 5 “He issued his laws to Jacob; he gave his instructions to Israel. He commanded our ancestors to teach them to their children, 6so the next generation might know them—even the children not yet born—and they, in turn, will teach their own children.”
The New Testament reinforces the many injunctions for intergenerational ministry found in the Old Testament. The Apostle John accentuates the necessity of valuing all generations when he addresses children, fathers, and young men in 1 John 2:12-14. The Apostle Paul extols the collective wisdom of the aged and the passionate zeal of the young in his pastoral letter to Titus, citing specific instructions to the older men (Titus 2:1-2) and to the younger men (Titus 2:6-8). Hence, it is clear from sacred scripture that God’s heart and intention are that His people value all generations.
Men’s Ministries has the unique opportunity to come alongside pastors. So, they can equip the men in their congregations to become authentic men, who in the words of Robert Lewis, “reject passivity, accept responsibility, lead courageously, and expect the greater reward, God’s reward.”1 It is the will of the Father, that there be a progression of sacred trust between the generations. Hence, boys mature into young men who navigate life and its challenges, becoming middle-aged men seasoned by life’s experiences and lessons learned until they come to those golden years where they have become familial patriarchs of successive generations, serving the Lord together, thereby finishing strong as a real man with a lasting, godly legacy.
How then does Men’s Ministries help the local church to value all generations? Tim Wright in an article titled The Key To Building A High Impact Men’s Ministry said, “If we are going to build men of high impact…and to build men into followers of Jesus…then we ought to start with our boys.”2
Twelve years ago, Rev. Bill Terry, director of Men’s Ministries and David Moore, director of Boy’s Ministries recognized the need for partnering in the discipleship of boys and men. That strong bond continues to this day. In order to value all generations, there should be a concerted collaboration between the old and the young, ensuring a posterity for years to come. Tim Wright goes on to say,
“If we can capture our boys with the power of Jesus early on…we could change the trajectory of the church, men’s ministry, and men, in one generation.”3
For this to happen, Men’s Ministries must become a mentoring ministry. This begins with every Godly man mentoring men of other ages and equipping other men to do the same. It has been my custom, as a pastor of 32 years, to meet with men on a weekly basis over an early breakfast to mentor them in their pursuit of authentic relationship with God. This has expanded to include seasonal gatherings of a small group of men I called “Iron Men.” We would meet once a week for a period of six to eight weeks, at six o’clock in the morning for prayer, bible study, life application discussions, and a closing prayer together. These small groups would then merge into a monthly meeting of men, drawing 35-50 men together for a meal, devotional message, and prayer.
Once a year the Buena Vista Pentecostal Holiness Church Men’s Ministries has sponsored a Men’s Resurrection Breakfast at the Natural Bridge Inn and Conference Center, drawing as many as 325 men from across the region. In these gatherings, there has been a concerted effort to equip men to disciple sons and boys, leading them through a rite of passage into authentic manhood. We have utilized our teens and young adult men in these venues, providing opportunities to play an instrument, sing on a praise team, share a testimony, or preach a message. Hence, affirming the call of God on their lives, incrementally providing responsibility, preparing them for a life of service in the church and the larger kingdom of God. It is crucial that the older generation of men recognize the call of God on the younger generation of boys and teens, even as Eli did with Samuel when he realized that the Lord was calling the boy. So, Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening’” (1 Samuel 3:8-9, NIV).
Men’s Ministries can help the church value all generations by creating opportunities for men and boys to experience life together. Royal Rangers and other ministries to boys provide an excellent venue for discipleship. Whether through camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, and other friendly activities that foster role modeling and mentoring opportunities. The partnership between Men’s Ministries and Boy’s Ministries to create high impact momentum for mutual discipleship has culminated in recent years through the National Camporama. This is scheduled to take place again in the summer of 2019. In this setting, men and boys alike can experience the blending of generations. They come together to have a boatload of fun while simultaneously encountering the perfect role model, the Lord Jesus Christ. Spiritual reproduction through the generations is God’s plan of passing on spiritual disciplines, knowledge, and skills to reliable Christ-followers who will do the same.4
In summary, Men’s Ministries can help the church value all generations by valuing ministry that is:
RELATIONAL – one life impacting another (Matthew 4:19)
TRANSFORMATIONAL – comprehensive life change (Romans 12:2)
MISSIONAL – the Great Commission is not optional (Matthew 28:19-20)
GENERATIONAL – every man is a spiritual parent (2 Timothy 2:2)
1Men’s Fraternity: The Quest for Authentic Manhood, Robert Lewis, www.authenticmanhood.com
2The Key To Building A High Impact Men’s Ministry, May 8, 2014, Tim Wright http://www.patheos.com/blogs/timwright/2014/05/the-key-to-building-a-high-impact-mens-ministry-2/
4Men of I.M.P.A.C.T. (Imperfect Men Pursuing Authentic Christlike Transformation) https://www.thecrossingchurch.com/ministries/adults/men-of-impact/