I was talking with some friends this morning and we considered the challenge of communicating the Gospel in a multi-generational context.
By multi-generational I mean some folk grew up believing that you work for whatever you get, and you don’t accept help from anyone.
Others have grown up believing that help and support should be forthcoming from every agency and group in society.
Of course this isn’t purely a generational issue, there are people of any age who want to trust in their own efforts and those who expect the support of others.
These two philosophies both bring their own strengths and weaknesses to society.
(And notice how I haven’t characterised this as an older/younger thing, that’s not the point.)
The presence of these two beliefs in one congregation means the Gospel is being communicated to two very different cultures.
One is less interested in hearing about help, but wants to do things.
The other is happier to depend on help, but doesn’t automatically desire to be active.
One group you want to respond to the ‘done’ of the Gospel and trust Jesus’ work on their behalf as the sole reason God accepts them as righteous.
The other group you want to respond to the implications of the Gospel’s ‘done’ living as those who are loved by Jesus in their activities of obedience to His commands and their service to others.
The challenge to preachers is to include both the ‘done’ and the response, and do so in a way that both groups can rest in the Gospel of salvation, and be encouraged to take up their crosses and follow Jesus.
Knowing that doesn’t make it easier, but being aware of a challenge helps us to respond to it.