In my last post I wrote about some expressed concerns with the Contemporary Church's trend of offering alternate worship services based on style preferences and generational differences. Over the past week I've encountered a few others having similar conversations. First, my friend, Bart Damer, sent me this announcement from North Point's Buckhead Church in Atlanta. Their singles gathering, called 722, has announced that they are making a change in how they do ministry.

The Lord has brought them to a place where they have had to honestly assess why they do what they do, even at the risk of them putting themselves out of a job. They asked themselves, "Are we doing something not already being done to reach those who are not being reached? Or are we merely providing people with an option to attend something that is already happening elsewhere in our church?"

722 is a worship and teaching gathering for singles in a church, sixty percent of which is made up of singles. North Point and Buckhead already have worship gatherings on the weekends, in which they do essentially the same kind of worship and teaching as in 722. In eliminating the alternate service "option", they are encouraging multi-generational worship in one large gathering with many representative styles and age groups growing together and appreciating one another. Northpoint and Buckhead are very influential churches within the Contemporary Church, so I am excited to see what kind of effect their decisions will have on other churches and ministries. Click here to watch the short video of the announcement made by the Director of 722 last week.

Second, Ryan sent me this post from Between Two Worlds. It is an excerpt from Shane Rosenthal's "An Interview with J. I. Packer: The State of Evangelicalism" in Modern Reformation. J. I. Packer, author of the Christian classic Knowing God, is very wise. What he has to say here pertains especially to our topic at hand: multi-generational worship.

Shane Rosenthal: What do you think about a niche marketing approach that has by virtue of the different worship styles - teen pop, alternative, and adult boomer - created generational segregation?

J. I. Packer: We have separated the ages, very much to the loss of each age. In the New Testament, the Christian church is an all-age community, and in real life the experience of the family to look no further should convince us that the interaction of the ages is enriching. The principle is that generations should be mixed up in the church for the glory of God. That doesn't mean we shouldn't disciple groups of people of the same age or the same sex separately from time to time. That's a good thing to do. But for the most part, the right thing is the mixed community in which everybody is making the effort to understand and empathize with all the other people in the other age groups. Make the effort is the key phrase here. Older people tend not to make the effort to understand younger people, and younger people are actually encouraged not to make the effort to understand older people. That's a loss of a crucial Christian value in my judgment. If worship styles are so fixed that what's being offered fits the expectations, the hopes, even the prejudices, of any one of these groups as opposed to the others, I don't believe the worship style glorifies God, and some change, some reformation, some adjustment, and some enlargement of spiritual vision is really called for.

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