5 Huge Benefits of Being a Multi-Generational Church

Drew Hensley » Family Church Church Leadership Community

5 Huge Benefits of Being a Multi-Generational Church

Many churches either have lots of families or lots of college students, but not both. Here are some reasons to pursue a church of multiple generations worshiping and serving together.

Have you seen the car commercial that talks about having “this or that” and how much better it is to have “this and that”?

That commercial illustrates how I feel about the local church I get the privilege of leading. We’re planted in the heart of the University District in Seattle, and what started simply as a college ministry has become something far more complex and messy—yet beautiful.

Many of the churches in our area swing far to one side of the pendulum: they are either comprised of mainly families, or they have few families but a large group of college students. Rarely does a church have much of both, but by God’s grace, we do.

Throughout the Bible we clearly see that each generation is called to build on the foundation passed on from the previous one.

It’s a beautiful thing to see parents with little kids making the sacrifice to come and pray for college students before finals week at the end of our 7pm service.

It’s great to hear stories of students serving families by watching children and serving in our kids ministry, and then in return the families imparting godly wisdom and helping disciple these students. To watch an 18-year-old man sit across from a 40-year-old father to share a meal together and talk about Jesus and life is incredible.

We need each other

Psalm 71:18 says, “Even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.” Likewise, Psalm 145:4 declares, “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.” Throughout the Bible we clearly see that each generation is called to build on the foundation passed on from the previous one.

What this means in our local church context is that in each generation, we absolutely need each other in order to produce a healthy local church and see Jesus’ mission go forward.

During my time serving as the lead pastor at Mars Hill Church U-District, I’ve seen some benefits to multi-generational ministry, and I would like to share some practical examples of how, by the grace of God, we’ve operated as a healthy, growing multi-generational church.

Here are five huge benefits of pursuing both college students and families:

1. Elders

We need elders in our churches to help shepherd and lead the church, and this role must be held by seasoned men who have been called by God and are qualified. An 18-year-old should never be in this role. It will be bad for them and abusive for the sheep.

2. Mentoring Discipleship

We need older men and women pouring into younger men and women. This is how we help build godly character, invest in future generations, and help ensure legacies of faith in Jesus going forward.

3. Family

When I went away to college, the thing I missed most was my family back home. As local churches we need moms, dads, brothers, and sisters—not just brothers and sisters fending for themselves.

4. Sacrificial Service

In all aspects of life we have been called by God to sacrifice and to serve Jesus and one another. With a church of families and students, the opportunities to sacrifice and serve are innumerable.

5. Sustainability

College churches tend to rise and fall on the freshmen class coming in. This isn’t healthy or sustainable. It’s critically important to have a strong, stable core, and families help provide this.

Maybe you’re convinced to start pursuing multi-generational ministry, but you don’t know where to start. If this is you, stay tuned. In a follow-up post soon, I’ll share four practical things I’ve learned along the way to help grow a multi-generational church.


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