Note: I’m not much of a “chicken raiser” myself, so please bear with my illustrations. We’ll be sure to leave contact info at the bottom for your frustrated, chicken-related feedback. (This article was written by John Simon, a member of our Generation Spark team)
There is a delicate science to introducing baby chicks to a community of chickens. Being too nonchalant about the integration will almost certainly spell danger for the chicks. It takes a watchful eye, and a careful strategy.
While mother hens are (true to their name) very maternal over their biological chicks, they can demonstrate aggressive behavior toward chicks from a different family. Even roosters, with their firm instinct to protect their flock from any external threats, can harass or even kill new chicks.
It really makes your heart go out for these poor chicks. Acclimating to a new environment is tricky enough. Being antagonized by the old guard can’t be a welcoming experience.
This kind of generational conflict can exist in our churches, too. Don’t get us wrong, we’ve heard relatively few cases of church elders literally “pecking” at emerging adults. But the essence can still be there.
The stories we’ve heard often repeat themselves. A young woman ages out of the youth group she’s been connected with for years, and feels like she’s been marooned. A high school graduate relocates to a different town for college and struggles to feel noticed at their new church. A young man with a heart for ministry longs for a meaningful relationship with his older community, but struggles to feel even acknowledged on Sunday mornings. Older generations struggle to welcome younger parishioners into their churches. It’s not difficult to understand why. There are cultural differences. Communication can be challenging. But ultimately, it’s because churches aren’t equipped to build these bridges across the pews.
Generation Spark was born out of this need. We want to help churches that are struggling to break this cycle. We offer hands-on coaching, practical strategies, and loads and loads of support to help all generations form meaningful relationships that ultimately result in sustained lifelong faith. We’d love to see the grace of Jesus grow in your community as you learn to cross generational boundaries in the spirit of care and discipleship.
Our Generation Spark team doesn’t believe in the pecking order. We believe that all generations of leaders can learn from, support, and grow in faith together. We also believe that giving our young people a place to lay their heads isn’t just “planning for the future.” It’s an expression of the very Gospel we live by.
And we’re here to help.