Little if any energy is needed to becoming disconnected . . . or even divisive. That, unfortunately, seems to come all too easily. And this is precisely why the Scriptures tell us to be diligent to preserve the unity we do have (Ephesians 1:3). The reality is, it requires a great deal of energy and intentionality for us to maintain connection and the unity God has given us with others.
This is probably why we have a hard time doing it. We experience this in our churches. We want to get people connected, so we seek to connect them with other people just like them. And while it does create some sense of connection for people, it also naturally creates points of disconnection as well.
Just think about it.
A teen feels connected to the youth group and their small group leader, but may be disconnected to the church body.
Husbands may feel connected to a men’s group, but disconnected to their wives spiritually.
We could go on and on.
- Celebrate unified diversity. Any time there are two people who are different from one another serving together or walking through a facet of life with one another, celebrate it! Tell the story to your ministry or church. As you sit with others in the church, tell of the situation and the beauty of how two totally different people are living in unity.
- Focus on the unifying aspects of faith. Too often leaders talk about generational differences rather than helping different generations focus on the similarities they have with one another. If you allow two people from different generations to spend enough time together, they will find more common ground than they ever imagined. In your teaching, focus on the aspects of your faith that all believers have in common. Talk about the needs we all have. Make known the realities of sin that we all struggle with.
- Cultivate relationships between generations. Personally get to know people who are older than you. Get to know younger people as well. And, whenever you find common ground between two people in different stages of life, connect them on that common ground! You might just introduce them in the lobby on a Sunday morning. You might have both of them over for dinner one night. The means of connecting people can be any variety of things, but the point is to connect them relationally.
But this doesn’t have to be an either-or issue. We believe leaders can and should provide connection points with peers as well as people of different generations, different stages of life. Here are three practical ways you can take steps toward becoming a truly connected church:
By doing some simple things like this consistently and frequently in your church or ministry you can become a “Connected Church.” We think it’s worth the energy.