Why Multigenerational Community Matters

by Adam McClendon October 14, 2016

1 Tim 5:1-2: Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.

 

Paul is writing to Timothy about shepherding the people of God. Timothy has been given a mandate to help establish order in the church, and in these instructions, we see a general rule for all that our position doesn’t dismiss our approach, and that being right doesn’t remove the need to respect.

 

Considering this perspective, let’s look at 4 multigenerational principles at work in this text.

 

 

1. Interaction Matters

 

This text implies that multigenerational interaction should take place. When it does, we will know each other’s lives on a level that will allow us to encourage and admonish one another.

 

We are to interact with people of all generations; nevertheless, we like people who are like us. Our tendency is to dismiss or disrespect those at different stations than ourselves as we look at life from our perspective without proper consideration of the younger and older saints in our churches.

 

We need multi-generational interaction and have to occasionally work against the tendency just to gather in our peer groups. We live in an increasingly segregated church culture resulting in us missing out on different perspectives of life that may bring wisdom.

 

When we have authentic communal interactions with people of different generations, we get to “step into their shoes” so to speak and we can glean spiritual wisdom to help us in life.

 

 

 

2. How Matters

 

How we encourage and correct others matters.

 

Sometimes the approach makes all the difference. Right? Some of you know what I’m talking about. You’re driving down the road heading on a Friday night date, tired after a long week at work where you feel under appreciated and overworked. You’re headed to a place to eat and suddenly your spouse says, “Why are you going this way? We should take 44.” and what you really hear is, “You idiot. Do I need to drive?” Now, if your spouse would have said, “Would you mind if we take 44, because I don’t want to sit through the lights tonight plus I think there is some construction taking place on National?” You might not have thought twice about it, but because you felt you were given a directive, you flared up.

 

It’s the same way in the spiritual life. God didn’t wire us to be robots to just take directives. He wired us to be shepherded, led, guided, but not pushed.

 

How we seek to influence people spiritually matters. We know this on a basic level. We’ve even created laws that reinforce this basic principle. We can’t just beat our children when they are wrong. Why? It’s abusive. Nor can we ignore our children’s actions. Why? It’s neglect. As believers, we are to navigate between these two buoys in the river of life. We seek a gentle approach when we can, but we don’t ignore hazards in other’s lives.

 

Additionally, the position of that person should influence how we approach and interact with them.

 

 

3. Content Matters

 

What is being encouraged matters. The focus of Timothy’s correction dealt with gospel issues, not petty preferences.

 

I was at a church one time when a greeter stopped someone from entering the sanctuary because they had on a hat. This young man had come in from outside. He obviously wasn’t accustomed to the church. He could have been the child some mother had begged to come to church or the boy some grandmother had prayed for regularly for months, and they were ecstatic this young man would hear the gospel. He could have been giving church a try after a disappointing alcohol and sex filled weekend.

 

We are exasperated by pettiness. When we chose to encourage right behavior and beliefs, let’s ensure it’s connected to gospel living and not just our petty preferences.

 

 

4. Humility Matters

 

How we receive encouragement and correction matters. This point shifts the focus to the one being approach. We must remember that no one generation has mastered the Christian life. Age is not an excuse for sin: elderliness or youthfulness.

 

The point is that everyone may need correction at times and should be open to receiving correction. So be humble and open to correction from those inside and outside your peer group.

 

 

1 Tim 5:1-2: Do not rebuke an older man but encourage him as you would a father, younger men as brothers, 2 older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, in all purity.