Devotional

Gen2Gen: Fostering Intergenerational Synergy

Contributors: Jeff Schachinger, Florence Schachinger, Laly Matos, Joel Espada, La Micia Genova, Patrick Genova

Here in Southern CT, we are putting a ton of effort and energy into dreaming and workshopping the collaborations between two generations. We are calling these workshops “Gen2Gen” and full disclosure, we totally stole the name of this group from Nic Petre’s Podcast! 

Below is a comprehensive description describing the process!

Why are we doing this? 

There are 5 main reasons we are doing this: 

  1. Foster respect for the proceeding generation: The next generation doesn’t want to lose the convictions of the generation before.
  2. The Next Generation has a lot to offer: The next generation has values that are of great value to our Church.
  3. Clear up Confusion: We have a lot we want to give, but sometimes that process can be a bit confusing. Gen2Gen helps to clear it all up.
  4. Understanding Your Gifts: The next generation is still trying to understand where they can best use their gifts in the Church.
  5. Proactive: Being proactive about generational tension

What is our Philosophy? 

  • Generational Teamwork: We believe that our Church is at it’s best when generations are working together. This is not about the next generation “taking over” this is about facilitating generational teamwork. 
  • Everyone has a Gift: We believe that every single person in the Church has a God given gift that is meant to be used in the service of God. 
  • Everyone should be using their gift in the Church: We believe that every single member of the Church should be using their gifts to build up the Church. We can’t have a church where 20% of our members do 80% of the work.
  • Build Next Gen Confidence: While we value the convictions of the older generation, we also believe that we have a lot to offer in terms of how to go about Church without compromising our good confession.

Some of our Guiding Scriptures

Treasures on Treasures

He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”  Matthew 13:52

The older generation has treasure! The new generation has treasure! The question is do we see what each other has to offer as treasure? 

Mutual Respect

“Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:12

We as the next generation must show the respect this is due to our elders in the faith. We know that we would not have the fellowship we have without their sacrifice. 

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

We know we need to be an example and we know we have a lot to offer as well.

Use those Gifts!

“But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.  If they were all one part, where would the body be?” 1 Corinthians 12:18-19

We believe that God has given us all gifts and although we are all called to fulfill the mission we know that being a “prototype” disciple is not a biblical aim. Our aim is to understand our gifts, whatever they may be, and offer them to the Church and we trust that in time God will bless this because He knows why he gave us the gifts we have.

Everyone using their gifts also prevents burnout. As we unleash our gifts and stop trying to fit our square peg in a round hole, we will be breathing life into our disciples.

Questions we asked the Next Generation:

Q: “What do you love about the “Old School” Disciples?”

These were some of their responses: 

  • Commitment to the Bible
  • Conviction about advice
  • Communication with each other
  • The connection of our churches
  • Their experience
  • Their perseverance and resilience 

Q: “What do you not want to lose from the Older Generation?” 

Their responses: 

  • The connection between our Churches
  • Willingness to work through hurt and fight to reconcile
  • Commitment to the Bible as the standard 
  • A focus on outreach and helping more people come to Christ
  • Desire to fulfill the great commission 
  • A “sold out” heaven focused mentality

Q: “What are some things we think we bring to the table as the next generation?”

  • Loving people well for love’s sake only (no agenda)
  • Enhancing our outreach through social media
  • Our generation knows and can reach our own generation well
  • We have deep convictions about self care
  • We bring energy! 
  • We prefer a holistic approach to Christianity
  • We deeply desire that our church and our family of churches have as good a reputation as possible (we know persecution will always come).

Our Workshops:

Workshop 1: “Passing the Torch”

This first workshop was led by Jeff & Florence Schachinger (Southern CT Church leaders)  and they shared with us stories from the kingdom, stories from their experiences in this fellowship, how they saw God move, what they hope and pray we don’t lose. They talked about having convictions about loving the lost, righteousness and purity in dating, and a conviction about sacrificial giving to the church regularly and for special missions contribution.

Goal: Contrary to popular belief, the next generation loves to hear the stories of the older generation! These stories are inspiring and they get us fired up! The goal of this time together was for Jeff & Florence to share from their life, share the convictions they do not want us to lose, and let the next generation know that we have their full support to “go for it”

Workshop 2: “It’s your Turn”

This was a conversation that began with Jeff & Florence encouraging us in the next generation that we are the Church not of the future, but of right now! We then just talked about our dreams and vision for our church. It was truly an encouraging time! 

Goal: To understand that it is our time to step up and do great things for God and a time to dream together and be encouraged! 

Workshop 3: “Next Steps” 

This is where Jeff & Florence take a step back and let the next generation step up and run with their ideas. The next gen staff in Southern CT facilitated a workshop discussing how to go about implementing your vision, what it takes, and how to go about it in the context of our church. 

Goal: We want to make sure everyone knows that we support their dreams and vision, but they need to be the ones that spearhead it and breathe life into it rather than waiting for more people to believe in it. 

Workshop 4: “Discover Your God given Gifts”

We created a survey based on the book “Discover Your God Given Gifts” and had all of our next Gen members fill it out. This survey is based on the list of gifts in Romans 12. When we got together we discussed these gifts in depth and discussed how we can use our gifts to build up the kingdom. 

The link to our information about Gift’s and the Survey here: https://spark.adobe.com/page/YaqPo5sv3131k/

The Gifts We Covered:

For each of the below gifts we want to consider, “where can this be used in the Church?”

Perceiver – These are the “By the Book” Christians of our Church. The “tell it like it is” disciples. The word of God and truth is the absolute standard and it is what it is. 

Teacher – These are the Scholars of the Church. These are the Bible students, they love breaking down scriptures, they love dissecting the word and putting it back together. They can also take complex information and make it simple.

Exhorter – These are the Spiritual Life Coaches of our fellowship. They love helping people achieve their full potential and are willing to get their hands dirty to do it.

Giver – These are the “Venture Capitalist” if you will of the church. These are disciples that love supporting the work of the ministry and they don’t mind being in the background knowing they are helping in secret. 

Admin – These are the Project Managers and Leaders of our fellowship. They enjoy working to accomplish goals and putting teams together to get it done. 

Servers – These are the “First Responders” of the church. They are always willing to meet an immediate and obvious need in order to keep the gospel message from being hindered.

Compassion – These are the Social Workers of the Church. They love so much it hurts and they want to do whatever they can to remove the pain of others.

(Discover your gifts here: https://s.surveyanyplace.com/gen2gen)

We also had a few caveats when it came to understanding our gifts

  1. No gift matters without love (1 Corinthians 13:2-3)
  2. Don’t put yourself in a box since God can give and take away gifts (Luke 16:10)
  3. Remember the purpose of your gifts is to build up the Church and in building up the Church God is revealed to our community (1 Corinthians 14:12)

Goal: Our overall goal for this time was to empower, mobilize, and let our next Gen know about some current needs we have in the Church while also encouraging them to go after the ones that God had has put on their heart

That’s it for now! 

This is where we are at so far. I wish I could tell you what comes next, but we are figuring it out as the Spirit leads and guides our group! 

We are so inspired here and we are honestly learning as we go. However, the excitement about all of this is really something we can all feel and we are really excited for what the future holds! 

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