Multigenerational: “consisting of, relating to, or involving more than one generation (as of a family).” What an adjective to describe the church! I know that over the past five years you have heard me speak about our goal of remaining a multigenerational congregation. It is important to me (and I believe to our Lord) that every generation is represented within our faith community. The generational exchange of truth and discipleship was not only modeled for us in the New Testament (e.g. Paul-Timothy), but it was also an instruction given clearly to the early church (Titus 2). The generations need each other as they grow in Christ! Too many churches have forgotten that. And the result? They have either abandoned the older generation for the sake of reaching the younger generation, or they have written off the younger generation in an effort to maintain the traditions of the older. But as Webster captures in its definition, mutigenerational is the relating to more than one generation “as a family.” Within the familial context, we find grandparents, parents, children, grandchildren, etc. We don’t fracture over generational fault lines. We celebrate the diversity of age and experience! Let’s remember that as we contemplate Paul’s analogy of the church as “God’s family” (Ephesians 2:19). Specifically, give thanks for our multigenerational character and commit yourself to encouraging such an atmosphere here at Temple.
Over the next few weeks, we will visually witness the multigenerational nature of our Temple family. On Sunday, for example, we will stop and recognize those couples within our church who have been married for at least fifty years. And get this . . . there are ninety couples who claim that feat! Is that not astounding? What a testimony of faithfulness! The “top five” couples in length of marriage are: Virgil/Myrtis Orr (73 years); James/June Young (72); Ed/Elsie Spiller (70); Tom/Mary Kilpatrick (67); and Barney/Frances Sumrall (67). I am grateful first that God has given health to all these ninety couples so that they could celebrate such anniversaries, and I am also thankful that they have set an example of love and commitment. Certainly, their stories should challenge us to live and to love faithfully!
Also, we will commission around 70 college students who will spend their quarter break at Panama City Beach. These students will intentionally participate in gospel conversations as they engage many “spring breakers” March 2-9. Again, I am so joyful that the Lord has given this young generation the power and strength to storm the gates of hell and return victorious to us. Pray for them as they travel and as they bear witness to Christ!
How many churches get to celebrate couples being married for over fifty years AND a college ministry commissioning on the same day? Not many! And consider the next few weeks when we will have parent/child dedications, baptize individuals of all ages, welcome a new staff member and his family, and have specific generational gatherings. Wow! We are blessed! Let’s keep our hearts filled with gratitude, our eyes fixed upon Christ, and our feet firmly marching forward! See you Sunday!