Guiding Principle #8
Children and young people are given opportunities to discover and express their gifts and talents, including being involved in leadership.
A body is made up of many parts, and each of them has its own use. That’s how it is with us. There are many of us, but we each are part of the body of Christ, as well as part of one another. Romans 12:4-5
When different generational cohorts come together in service, intergenerational relationships begin to form as young and old learn from one another and begin to appreciate each other in the context of growing in faith.
When Jesus sent out his disciples to share the Good News and engage every generation in his name, they were living out and experiencing God’s presence in and through them as they used the gifts and talents they had received through the Holy Spirit. This means every part of the body, regardless of their age, appearance or skills, has both value and purpose in God’s plan.
Encouraging Intergenerational Leadership in Congregations
Encouraging intergenerational leadership in our congregations involves acknowledging that each generation has a broad range of gifts and talents to offer. In acknowledging this, our role is to help identify the gifts and talents of each person in our congregation and encourage all generations to be involved in decision making and leadership in our context. Though ideal and necessary, good intergenerational leadership is not easy to establish and maintain, as it takes time and a high level of commitment.
How can we effectively provide a safe space for growing intergenerational leadership?
- Recognise that all generations have something to offer.
- Be prepared to trust God’s calling and equipping of younger leaders.
- Give young people an opportunity to voice how they would like to see events/ministry occur. This may be different to how it ‘has always been done’, but allowing open conversations may birth new ideas that can have a lasting impact. Willing mentors can walk alongside the young people to guide and direct, sharing experience where necessary.
- Do not be afraid of change but understand that it may be difficult for some, and they may feel a sense of loss for the ‘old’ way of doing things.
- Help young people understand that not all ‘old’ things are bad and that everything ‘new’ is not necessarily right and good. Compromise will need to be reached and an understanding of the past is important in looking towards the future.
- Planning for a shared future. Leaders of all ages should plan to spend time together spiritually. Studying the biblical characteristics of a good leader will be important as you journey together. The example of Jesus, who modelled servant leadership as described in Philippians chapter 2 might be a place to start. Or you might prefer to discuss the Fruits of the Spirit in Galatians 5:22-23.
Encouraging intergenerational leadership in homes
Besides the wide range of ministries in a local congregation, there are opportunities for young people to lead and use their gifts at home. A young person can lead their household through devotional times such as:
- Taking Faith Home, including a creative response or suggesting an intergenerational service opportunity.
- Faith5, sharing highs and lows, reading the Bible, reflecting on God’s word, praying, receiving and blessing others.
In doing this they are developing leadership skills for life while being immersed in the richness of God’s grace and love.
Children and young people are gifted and talented leaders among their friends, families and church communities. Their child-like faith displays and invites every generation to approach God with a daring boldness – just like a child approaches a loving parent.
Read more in the Guiding Principle #2 Fact Sheet