young and old in the church

June 18, 2008

The following blog is more insight and things I am wrestling with from my time at the Arts Conference in Chicago last week.

I’m officially a tweener at this stage of my life.  Young people think I’m old, and old people think I’m young. Won’t be long before I’m no longer a tweener.

I’m learning a lot about things that younger people value in our society, and how different those values are than what you find in most churches.  Here are a few.

*Freedom.  Freedom of schedule, freedom of work flow.  Technology has changed everything when it comes to where you can work, when you can work, and how you can communicate.  Young people don’t know what it means to “wait till after work” to connect with someone.  Connection is seamless, always, and continuous, with everyone and from anywhere.  And this blew me away, most are past email!!  While we are still trying to catch some people up on using email, young people have moved on to texts, twitter etc, and many consider email to corporate and outdated.  

*Multi-tasking.  This one overlaps the above.  Its not that younger people are more muli-tasking oriented than previous generations, its that they have so much more to mulitask with!

*Permission granting.  If you look at companies like Google, Yahoo, Microsoft etc, you find a culture of permission granting.  They welcome ideas, change, and challenge to their way of thinking.  Microsoft encourages people manipulating there programs, hacking their defenses, or finding new applications for their programs, and they seize the opportunity to grow as a company and reach more people. 

This is a stark contrast to a permission withholding culture found in many churches.  The culture can be this if we’re not careful: We are not going to let you do anything, unless you come and ask, and then if we talk about it enough, we may let you do it.  This is not an attractive atmosphere for a young person to come be a part of. 

Why is this important to discuss?  Because ideally, we are family.  Ideally the church will be the whole family, with everyone having a seat around the dinner table.   We have to find ways for the young to respect and learn from the wisdom and experience of the old, and for the old to bless the energy and the innovation of the young. 

Tweeners like me are off the hook and have no responsibility whatsoever.  Just kidding.  Tweeners like me might be one of our best chances to try and pull both generations towards eachother, because we have a foot in both worlds. 



  1. I’m a tweener too. I live my life in a state of confusion.

  2. You have my prayerful support, Mr. Tweener.

  3. i’m old and i love that you’re wrestling with this stuff 😉

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