In my most recent book, Worlds Apart, I wrote a chapter on navigating inter-generational relationships. Â I talk about this all the time in workshops and seminars, but the bottom line is leading people toward these relationships can be difficult to navigate. Â There are all sorts of obstacles to tackle in churches when it comes to cultivating relationships between people of different generations. Â I’ve written in LENGTH about these in previous books, but here are just a few:
- Intimidation of older believers.
- Church models that are geared toward people’s preferences.
- Younger believers not seeing the value of having an older person investing in them.
- Older believers thinking ‘mentorship’ is simply an unglorified counseling session.
I can go on and on, but there is one thing that I can tell everyone. Â One thing that is universal regardless of context, regardless of generational values or preferences, regardless of intimidation factors….there is one thing that everyone needs. Â Leaders need this. Â Adult mentors need this. Â Younger people need this.
We must pay the price of time with people.
In our culture we are horrible at cultivating relationships. Â It takes us a tremendous amount of time to build relationships with other people. Â And yet, when it comes to mentorship somehow we expect it to work immediately…and if it doesn’t we think something is wrong.
In Worlds Apart I mention a friend of mine who says something about “discipleship.” Â He says this: Disciple is spelled T-I-M-E.
Patience. Â It’s how we love people (1 Corinthians 13:4).