We are living longer than we have ever lived in the history of humankind. In 2018, there were approximately 52.4 million adults aged 65+. Experts predict that this figure will nearly double to 94.7 million by 2060. One study indicates that half of all children born in western societies today will celebrate their 100th birthday
While we live longer, our society is experiencing profound challenges in education, health, work and retirement, family caregiving, civic engagement, and a sense of belonging.
Within our congregations, the challenges that divide generations are real. Theological, worship, legacy, programmatic, leadership dynamics, and communication style are just the tip of the myriad challenges facing a congregation with growing generational divides.
For many churches that cannot bear the strain of such tension, there is often a generational flight, finding another church in town that fits into either “what they want the church to be” or “how the church used to be.”
And yet, beyond the theological implications, we can learn from a physiological and psychological perspective that strong intergenerational relationships lead to thriving, both for individuals and churches.
We sat down with Dr. Holly Catterton Allen, professor of family science and Christian ministry at Lipscomb University, to discuss her work in intergenerational churches.
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Andy Hale is the creator and host of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Podcast. Hale is the senior pastor of University Baptist Church of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, following eight years as the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Clayton and five years as CBF’s church start specialist. Follow on Twitter @haleandy