Thursday, January 28, 2010

Segregating Ages In Church

There was a strong wave of this kind of thing a decade ago, but the trend of planting churches targeted to a specific generation and segregating church services remains a strong impulse in evangelical churches. In some ways, the inclination is good: we see a lot of young people leaving the church, so let’s find a way to make church something they are more attracted to.

From an article in Christianity Today about this trend, Hemingway notes that these churches tend to morph into traditional congregations anyway, as young singles grow, get married and have kids. Suddenly you either have to change the focus of the congregation, or start squeezing people out.

I believe in a congregation that is deliberately transgenerational. I believe in a youth group that is with the rest of the congregation in worship more often than not. I believe in young kids sitting with and learning how to worship God with their families.

Out of Ur recently ran an article on some possible coming trends in the church. Based on what I have seen from the last several years of generational ministry, I would like to add transgenerational church to the list. I know, the best ideas have been around for the longest time.


Rusty said...

Completely in agreement with you on this one, Phil. While the targeted demographic makes sense from a marketing standpoint, there doesn't seem to be much said about this in the NT. Rather, we find Paul talking about the church as a body, with many members, each unique, yet each an integral part of the whole. I'm thinking that the trend of remodeling church to appeal to the younger set is a flawed paradigm. In the book Soul Searching, the authors come to the conclusion (through extensive interviews) that serious teenagers are interested in authentic religion, whether that be traditional or not. Is that so surprising? If Christianity is real, then shouldn't true Christianity transcend age barriers?

Phil Steiger said...


I think that is right on - the authentic truth of Christ is what we are in the business of proclaiming. And that is all anyone of any age really needs.