Before practical solutions, as is always the case, let’s look at the spiritual solutions first.
For all age groups in the church, we do well to remember that we serve a Lord, “did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom (Matt. 20:28).”
We are commanded to “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, (Phil. 2:3).”
How then can we act with humility and a heart of service in our intergenerational communications? Here are some suggestions:
- Be honest in your print and online church communication listings. Many problems arise when a church lists staff email addresses, but the staff members do not answer their emails. Where this is particularly destructive and happens often, is between youth pastors and parents, where the parents email and the youth pastor doesn’t respond.
- If an email address is given, staff MUST commit to checking and responding to email.
- If staff won’t do this and prefers to text, DON’T list their email. List a number they can be reached and specifically state “Pastor Jeff prefers to communicate via text.”
- In the church, if you are on a committee or volunteer for a ministry or work with volunteers, before anything else, ask, “What is your preferred communication method? Text, email, phone call?” Then respond in the way requested, even if that is not your preferred method.
- If you don’t know how to text, consider learning how to do it. If typing with one finger or your thumbs seems impossible, most phones today make it possible to send a text by dictating it into your phone.
- If you hate to respond to email — get an app on your phone and do it anyway.
- For Boomers, learn the latest social media tools from your kids or grandkids. They can be tremendously fun to use and as well as being able to communicate with the staff at your church it can open new ways to communicate with the younger people you love.
- For Millennials, answer your phone; call people to make sure they get a message. Yes, it takes lots more time, but it also can build relationships in manner short texts, tweets and images can’t.
- For all of us, another reminder [is] that we are all servants of the Lord Jesus. Boomers have no right to feel superior because they’ve always done things a certain way and it still works for them; Millennials have no right to feel superior because they’ve conquered a new technology. We all serve the same Lord, who as Phil. 2: 6-8 reminds us:
Being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
May that be our attitude as we communicate with each other, no matter what tools we use.
These are not easy communication changes to make, particularly if you have to learn a new way to communicate, but warring communication methods hurt individuals and the church. Pray for patience and grace with yourself and each other and remember it’s not about you, but about keeping peace and growing the Kingdom of God.
This article originally appeared here and is used by permission.