Generation gap is a phrase that we hear thrown around quit often in our world. There are constantly tensions between these groups, but often these groups are never do anything to change how they act or view their differences. Maybe it is just a fact of life, or maybe it is our stubborn behaviour that possesses us to constantly neglect the other group or groups. So is it really a generation gap or is it a just a thought pattern that we need to change and adapt to the different generations that are around us?
Often times as youth leaders it we can face the challenge of this so called generational gap because we have grown up in a different world, this can make it very difficult sometimes when it comes to relating to today’s young people. Walt kind of describes youth ministry as being a cross-cultural missions venture. What can this cross-cultural missions venture look like? Well to personalize it just think about what the youth culture around you are doing, and where they hang out? Are they at the skatepark, the mall, the beach, do they hang out at the punk shows, or maybe they sit here in front of a computer screen reading and writing different blogs, who knows. This is what Walt is referring to when he says it is a mission’s field. Learning their culture, their language, and their passions, this is the world that we must enter.
In Walt’s book he describes three necessary steps that are key when it comes to ministering the gospel with clarity in today’s culture.
STEP 1: Know the unchanging word. This first step is key, we need to fully know the word of god. We need to know it as Walt say, “inside out and upside down”. This is going to be the foundation to everything, because knowing the word keeps us grounded. Without this foundation we can be prone to the influences that can come along with this culture.
STEP 2: Know young people and their rapidly changing culture. We can see this point come alive from the message bible, it says, “the word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood” (John 1:14). “Jesus lived among those he ministered to. He embraced their lives by sharing in their day-to-day activities. He became intimately familiar with their language, values, beliefs, customs and thoughts” (pg.48). Jesus knew what to do, I think that he is the best example of how to know and communicate to this youth culture.
STEP 3: Take the unchanged word to young people growing up in rapidly changing culture. Basically this last step is a mixture of step one and two. Once we know the word of god and the culture that we are going to be presenting it to, then it is time to actually go for it and present it. We will find that our communication and connection to this culture, or any culture will be successfully accomplished.
So is there a generation gap or is it really just a misunderstanding. Is the reason why we sometimes don’t understand a certain culture or generation because we don’t take the time to learn about the people group we are trying to reach? Who knows… What do you think?