Generational Differences 4

Rick Mattson Church, Uncategorized Leave a Comment

What are the implications for young people in the inter-generational church?

I promised to respond to this question but I need to put it off for a week or two.

Instead, here are a few more generational differences. Category is evangelism:

It seems to me that white evangelical leaders have spent the past 50 years reacting to the *social gospel. We’ve defined ourselves, in part, by what we’re not.

But 20 years ago, following the lead of Christian colleges and parachurch youth ministries, white evangelical churches began taking kids (and adult sponsors) on service projects to the inner-city and overseas.

They pounded nails, fed the poor and cleaned up waste areas.

Then the critical next step: They rediscovered community service in the Bible.

This was a little confusing to the older generations. Was it a return to the social gospel? Or a new strategy for preaching the gospel?

Actually, neither.

Rather, service and proclamation were integrated. They were both “gospel” and became inseparable for young people (and many people of color, for whom this was always true).

Yet, white oldsters on the whole remained wary.

Ergo: Generational difference, and thus the chart above.

* “Social gospel” refers to an earthly kingdom of God which is established by education and service. It generally rejects the ideas of original sin, personal salvation and Hell.

For further reading: I’d recommend books by Wheaton evangelism professor Rick Richardson. His Evangelism Outside the Box and Reimagining Evangelism are excellent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.