In November of 2017, it became clear to me that we had a generation gap at my church. God put it on my heart to do something to help to bridge the gap between generations. At that time, I had an idea for trying to accomplish this, but heard the Holy Spirit telling me “not now.” And so, I waited and prayed until I felt the prompting of the Holy Spirit to create the event that we called Bridging the Gap, which took place on November 10, 2018. Although in the flesh, I had concerns about whether it would work and whether I could plan an event that would accomplish what was intended, I trusted that God would direct me and just put my trust in Him. My trust and obedience to following the prompt were rewarded in ways I could never have imagined.
As I reflect on the planning and the actual event, I can see that God’s hand was all over it. When I reached out to people in the older generations, they were enthusiastic about the idea of an event where they could get to know brothers and sisters in Christ in the younger generations. When I reached out to the younger generation, I was totally blessed by their excitement about the opportunity to sit down with older generations and get to know them as well. My concerns were beginning to slip away. But, on the day of the event, I was totally blown away by the way in which God orchestrated everything, starting with the timing of the event.
One of my younger brothers in Christ, Jonathan Thorne, came up to me at the event and asked if I had chosen that date deliberately or if it was God. I didn’t understand his question until he pointed out that the day of the event fell in between the weeks when, as part of the series THIS IS US, we, as a church, were looking at the values of “We Row Together” and “We Want Heaven Here.” My answer to Jonathan was, “It was God!” I picked the date before knowing that it would fall at that point in that series. But God knew! He was showing us that, as members of various generations, we need to work together, to be united as one in Christ. We need to “row” together. And, just as Evangel reflects the diversity of heaven in our diversity of race, ethnicity, languages, and cultures, we also reflect a wonderful diversity in generations.
The event was an amazing time of fellowship. Young and old worshiped together, shared a meal together, and then talked, learning a little more about each other than they knew before. The conversations at the tables were beautiful and, from the reactions I have heard from some of those who attended, I would say that some walls came down and the generation gap has narrowed considerably. One of the activities that I planned for that day was a generation personality quiz. It was something that I found on the internet that I thought would be fun to use at the event. The idea behind the quiz was that by answering the ten questions asked, you would find what generation your personality says you belong to. When we all took the quiz and shared the results, we had a laugh as we saw that most of us came out as traditionalists or baby boomers. But I realized later that God had used what was intended to be just for fun to show us that, because of our faith in Christ, we are not so different from each other, despite the generations that we belong to based on our date of birth.
I heard from those who participated that day a desire to continue the dialogue that has begun, to continue to work at bridging that gap. As I shared that day, Isaiah 58:12 in the ESV says, “And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.” I believe that we can apply that verse to the generation gap and that, as we continue to work on bridging that gap, we will be known as repairers of the breach.
God is moving in the generations at our church. A work has begun that we need to continue.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.