Respecting Our Elders In Generational Conflict

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Revmitchell, Feb 21, 2010.

  1. Revmitchell

    Revmitchell
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    There is always within the culture and even in our churches the conflict between older and younger generations. The younger are always looking for the newer, faster, and the better. There can be no doubt that they are, in so many cases, discontent with methods and ways of doing things they saw growing up. The older generation often is working to maintain what they have known for many years, and have seen work hundreds of times over. I have a concern that in so many cases where this conflict of generation’s pops up the older congregants get the short end of the stick, and often without legitimate cause. The fact that the older generations have been serving God faithfully for many years, and have spent more time in scripture than far too many pastors is overlooked.

    Just because differences arise between the generations does not mean the core problem or conflict is a “generational gap”. It just may in fact, at times, be that the new thing being presented is in error and needs to be carefully looked at with older eyes and wisdom. Attaching catch words to new ideas, such as “cultural context”, “progress”, or any number of other words should not immediately give the idea credibility as the right thing to do. I am greatly disturbed at the growing disrespect to our older generation. As of late it seems the younger generations cannot wait for them to go home to heaven so as not to be hindered by them.

    When the church loses its respect for our older members because we cannot get our agenda through then we have lost sight of what a church is as a whole and the church is now a reproach. We need to remember that the word of God speaks favorably of our older generations (Pro 16:31). Maybe we need to spend as much time if not more trying to understand the older generation as we do running out and trying to understand the lost culture. If nowhere else, understanding ought to begin in the church first and foremost even if we “think” the older generation is not trying to understand anyone else.

    We need to recognize that there is a vast difference between a generational gap and carnal minded Christians. The latter come in all sorts of stripes and colors and it is in error to assume the older generation is being carnal minded just because they do not immediately buy into what is new and presented as “culturally relevant”. This “cultural relevance” does more to divide people in our churches than anything else these days. We need to honor our older congregants just as much if not more than the world’s culture. Let’s get back to treating our older congregants with the love and respect they deserve.
     
  2. SolaSaint

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    I like what your saying, I don't ever remember growing up in church and thinking we had to abandon old ways and start using culture as a guide in molding church programs and such. When our church rolls started declining several decades ago it wasn't because the the older folks were doing church wrong, it was because worldly desires have increased in competition with the church. Men and women today have far to much to choose from on Sunday, whereas 50 years ago they either worshiped God at church or stayed home. Now we have all this marketing strategy brought into making church more competitive to the worldly attractions. We didn't see this 50 years back, so we didn't have all this talk of changing the way we do church because it is old fashioned. This is what started it all IMO. In my book Robert Schullar had a lot to do with it.
     
  3. Jerome

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    Example = I Kings 12

     
    #3 Jerome, Feb 21, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2010
  4. Benjamin

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    Apparently, I have a very different situation. Or maybe, hopefully not, you are falling into a controlling trap/power struggle that is a common thing new pastors’ face when moving into a church. I don’t know, but I would caution against choosing sides too quickly.

    What if the older generation doesn’t deserve the power and respect they demand? And I’m serious! The experience I’ve been facing at our church is that 85% of the congregation is retired from a nearby retirement village; they run the church like it is their private country club. There is little interest in Bible study but a lot of interest in who is in charge. We have two somewhat new pastors that are around 50 years old and I can’t believe how much they are bossed around. The early service is basically 100% retired, BECAUSE of how unwelcoming this older crowd is. I’ve personally started out going to that service with my family a few times and couldn't even get eye contact! The older people think they own/rule the church.

    It is like pulling teeth for the pastors to try to make ANY changes, or take control of the operations of the church, or even get information. The pastors are chewed on and nagged at constantly and are TOLD how things are to be. There has been virtually no family growth in our church which is in the middle of a huge new development of family homes. If the older crowd does not get their way they quickly threaten to quit. The pastors are besides theirselves on what to do, but have realized that they need to start standing their ground and recently, because of this, several have quit.

    Last month the pastors managed to get me voted in as Trustee chair after I got a couple simple projects completed in a short time that had taken almost two years prior because of bickering and power struggles. The Sunday school director recently quit because I overruled her in allowing the pastor to have a… “Bulletin board!”… by his office door that the director wanted; I had even installed another… “Bulletin board!” for her use in an effort to avoid this confrontation. The youth director said she was quitting in an effort to not further the spread of rumors; SHE EMAILED THIS NOTICE TO OVER 148 PEOPLE! Several people ganged up on the pastor about this...bulletin board..., raised their voices, made a scene, and falsely accused him of saying the that the youth director had previously taken over the…”bulletin board!”. I took it upon myself to intervene in this rediculous bullying while asking them if they had considered praying for the pastor and referred to the teaching of Hebrews 13:17. A couple, or 3 went after me blatantly telling me that nobody rules over them and I told them they were in rebellion to God’s instruction which was given for order and the welfare of the church. So more have quit and there are now rumors spreading about me.

    Anyway....:BangHead:
     
    #4 Benjamin, Feb 21, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2010
  5. Aaron

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    Scripture is always the rule for faith and practice. The OP isn't saying that the older people are always right. It's saying that the youth are not to ram their agendas down the throats of their elders. CCM is a prime example.
     
  6. Aaron

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    BTW, did you notice the date of the quote?
     
  7. Salty

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    And I thought it was bad that our church of some 25 or 30 voted in a business meeting to put all announcements on a bulletin board, as they did not want announcements given during church service :saint:
     
  8. dcorbett

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    Amen, brother, and the church didn't try to change to blend with the world either. Yes, young people are always looking for newer, faster, and easier. Also, some young people never mature due to lack of self esteem, so they become older people with immature ideas. I respect someone for their maturity, not their age necessarily. :thumbs:
     
  9. CF1

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    I also agree with the OP.
     
  10. Jerome

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    I Peter 5:5
    Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
     
  11. Bethelassoc

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    This makes me think of a comment that one of our elder members said about growing up back in the 40s. He said that it was common to see the preachers preach on the court square and the crowd would come to listen to what they had to say. One particular time, a preacher was preaching, on the other side of the court house, a "snake oil" salesman was getting set up and had a pet monkey to work the crowd. Needless to say, the crowd moved over to see what the monkey was up to.
     
  12. Tom Bryant

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    We ought not think that the church has only changed in the last 50 years. As early as Acts 6, the church understood that there was a problem so they implemented a change and the Word of God multiplied. Change happened when the Apostles started to die off and Paul gave way to a much more subdued Timothy.

    Change happens. No one enjoys it, well, except for the little babies, thealways enjoy the "change".

    It's not just in the program of the church. Change happened when we moved from meeting in houses to meeting in separated buildings. When everyone started having air conditioning, congregations added AC.

    When people started using an organ, it was a change. When hymns started talking about a person's experience with Christ during the time of Fannie Crosby, it was a change from the hymns that all talked about what God did.

    There was a thread about the felt characters that we put on flannel board. That was a change and now that change has been changed. It's why we made the change and how we implemented the change and whether the change was biblical.

    Many of us are nostalgic not for Biblical church but for Church the way we used to do it.
     
  13. sag38

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    Exactly!! Much of the complaining we hear about music, etc. has no real basis (some conjure up Biblical reasoning). Rather, they are simple reflections of childhood memories. They are pleasing to personal tastes and preferences. And, they have their ultimate bases, not in the Bible, but in opinion.
     
  14. Aaron

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    If that is the case, since the commandment is, Ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder, you have even less ground to bring in a style they don't like.
     
  15. Mexdeaf

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    Well, I am an "elder" and I kind of like the verse that says, "submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of the Lord." Eph. 5:21

    For the "elder" to demand submission upon the grounds of age is no more scriptural than for the younger to demand submission of the elders to 'pop culture'.

    The ideal should be mutual submission to the Lord.

    Our hearing church has CCM, a band , etc. and yet we have a large group of older folks who grace our services and we do our best to accommodate their tastes in music also.

    Then again you're always going to have folks that will never be pleased and demand it 'their way'.
     
  16. ktn4eg

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    Not sure where I saw this, but in some cases I'd say it's true ----

    THE SEVEN LAST WORDS OF THE CHURCH:

    "We Never Did It That Way Before!"
     
  17. CF1

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    Here are some factors that led our culture to tend to reject our elders:

    * Abuse of authority in politics on sending troops to Viet Nam (I still honor those who went, but it created a culture of rejection of those in authority)

    * Abuse of authority of husbands who failed to love their wives and learn to be sensetive to them, leading to various forms of feminism.

    * The pendulum swung the other way and the next generation used the abuses as an excuse to create their own abuses in the way they rejected too much of the wisdom of the older generation.

    I have been reading three books reminding me how far we have strayed. All are by Alexander Strauch.

    Biblical Eldership: Restoring the Eldership to Its Rightful Place in Church

    The Study Guide to Biblical Eldership

    Men and Women, Equal Yet Different: A Brief Study of the Biblical Passages on Gender


    The first two books are being studied at our church in a special group.

    The last book I'm reading on my own. All of these books are excellent. There are no wasted words. Concise. Accurate. Balanced. Fair. Authoritative. Restoring our thoughts back to correcting the root causes of errors rather than swinging the pendulum the other way in sin of rebellion.

    All 3 are worth reading carefully to recognize how far we have strayed and how to get back in balance.
     
    #17 CF1, Feb 21, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2010
  18. Revmitchell

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    The op is not about whether change should occur.
     
  19. dh1948

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    Speaking from the experience I have had at my present pastorate, which is in its fifteenth year...

    Over the past fifteen years we have made a lot of changes. When considering major changes that would affect the lives of our people, our staff has always taken into account how the elderly people would react to them. In some cases, we have gone to them as a group and explained the changes and asked for their support.

    Not all of them liked the changes, but we never lost an elderly person because of the changes.

    I am guessing that not over 12% of our active congregants are what we would term "elderly." Yet, we try to be considerate of them when we make changes. I think their response is an indication of their appreciation of our actions.

    The worship wars that are being fought in a lot of churches are so unnecessary. They would quickly end if generations would act with love and respect for everyone involved.
     
  20. CF1

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    Great quotes from the OP to try to keep myself on topic

     

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