What is One Church?
One Church is where all generations within the church participate in the Sunday Morning worship service from singing in the service, leading the youth worship band, and reading scripture together as one church. You may hear us refer to this as our "Multi-Gen" service and that's because it truly involves multiple generations with one united purpose of worshiping God together.
When you begin to look at the various ministries of FBC our prayer is that you will see a commitment to engage all of our people in meaningful ministry and worship. The question may come asking, “Why?” Why does FBC DeKalb want to intentionally focus on a multi-generational approach to ministry? We want to give you ten reasons that we believe express why this approach is vital for the church and what type of impact we believe it will have on our people, families, ministries, and the church.
1. THE BIBLE COMMANDS IT.
The Old and New Testaments give us great clarity on how all generations should worship and serve together. Check out Psalm 145:4-7: “One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty—and I will meditate on your wonderful works. They tell of the power of your awesome works—and I will proclaim your great deeds, they celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.” This passage gives us 5 activities that all generations should do together. They should commend, tell, speak, celebrate and sing. This passage is forming the basics of worship and service for God’s people, and it is multi-generational.
In Ephesians 5:18-21, “…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.” Or look at Colossians 3:16 as Paul declares this a second time, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.”
These moments of what to do with “one another” is again, an experience in worship and ministry together with the body of Christ which Paul is declaring should be done with both older and the younger generations.
2. IT CULTIVATES AN “ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN” ENVIRONMENT.
FBC wants to follow the model for worship and ministry set by God and is in place even now in heaven. Yes, Heaven is the expert on the subject. So what does heaven look like? We first think of heaven as every tribe and every nation, which is completely correct (Revelation 5:9 & 7:9). But the universal church is not only all nations, but also all nations from all time. That means that, you will be worshipping with your father, your grandfather, your great grandfather, your great-great grandfather and on and on! It also means we will worship with those who passed away when they were young, along with all those who have passed away even from the unborn to the oldest that have ever lived. By having these types of multi-generational worship moments here on earth, we are preparing ourselves for what we will be experiencing for all of eternity.
3. IT BRINGS UNITY WITHIN THE BODY OF CHRIST.
When you look at Ephesians 4 we see the importance that is placed on the church being unified together in one body. Many churches, some unknowingly, have so segregated generations in the church through services, styles, programs, classes, and other examples that we really have multiple churches within one church building instead of an Ephesians 4-type model of “one body and one Spirit…one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all (Eph. 4:4-6).
4. IT TEACHES THE INDIVIDUAL CHURCH MEMBER.
We believe that multi-generational ministry will bring growth to our people at FBC DeKalb. The most prominent area is that of preference. Often the church has cultivated generations that are focused on personal preferences especially when it comes to worship and music. What do YOU like in style, leadership, time, volume, look, feel and so on? We have not found anywhere in the Bible where it says preference is what worship should be about, but we do read often where it teaches we should lay our desires aside and think more of others preferences than our own. Romans 12:10, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor;” By letting all generations be an important part in serving and leading ministry it will serve as a witness to each other, and the culture around us that it’s not about our individual preferences but rather about worshipping and serving the Lord as one body.
5. IT EDIFIES THE BODY OF CHRIST.
In 1 Corinthians 14:26, Paul says that if anything is done in the church, let it all be done for edification. This word means to stretch, instruct and encourage both intellectually and spiritually. There are numerous things that can be classified as edifying in the church, and we believe that seeing and experiencing multi-generations serving side by side will bring excitement and joy to the people and at the same time it will glorify God.. These moments together bring clarity of who we are as one body and what we believe.
6. TRAIN UP LEADERS vs. PERFORMERS.
Multi-Generation ministry is not a new concept. One of the products from this type of focused ministry is we will to train up LEADERS of worship, not PERFORMERS of music. This philosophy we believe will change everything.
So many programs are built around a performance philosophy, whether they realize it or not. For example, listen to how many who grew up involved with a church music program, were normally encouraged inside a more performance driven model, “John, I loved what you did on stage today. You’re voice is amazing.” When we say that we have, probably unknowingly, communicate that the person performed on a “stage” for you and that the talent impressed you. We believe that this is the wrong message to teach our youth and children. What we want to express to our children and youth ministry leaders is more along these lines, “Students, you led the church of God with excellence, power, and conviction today. When you stepped on the platform, you allowed the Lord to use you to effect the body of Christ in a great way.”We do not want our groups at FBC to come on stage and sing a single song, receive applause, and walk off. We want them to lead the body of Christ in an experience of worship. We are committed to building up not a group of performers, but the next generations of strong leaders in music and worship.
7. IT AFFECTS ETERNITY.
This point is similar to #6 but in a much broader scope. We have many seniors, middle-aged adults, young adults, singles, youth, and children in our ministry and very few of them will actually become full time ministers. They are dads, moms, friends, employees in their respected fields, students, children, or whatever God has called them to be. But here is the key: How we allow them to feed and be fed in the church will affect and encourage them to live their purpose. This will then affect others, who will affect more, and so on throughout all generations. We are in the eternity business.
8. IT DISPLAYS WHAT GOD IS DOING THROUGH DIFFERENT GENERATIONS.
There is a famous saying, “Your perception is your reality.” When we engage with other age groups within our church whether it’s children, students, or adults it allows our churches perception to be equal with the reality of what is really happening within the full body of the church. It’s crucial for the old and young to see, hear, learn, and be encouraged by each other.
9. IT BRINGS FAMILIES TOGETHER TO WORSHIP.
There are many places in scripture that speak of the family being the primary place of learning to worship the Lord and growing in the way of truth. In Psalm 78:2-7, “I’ll let you in on the sweet old truths, Stories we heard from our fathers, counsel we learned at our mother’s knee. We’re not keeping this to ourselves; we’re passing it along to the next generation—God’s fame and fortune, the marvelous things he has done. He planted a witness in Jacob, set his Word firmly in Israel, Then commanded our parents to teach it to their children so the next generation would know, and all the generations to come— Know the truth and tell the stories so their children can trust in God, Never forget the works of God but keep his commands to the letter.” (other scriptures: Deut. 6:6-9, Eph. 6:4, 2 Tim. 1:5)
We believe that our MultiGen ministries will bless our families beyond words. We want to create more and more opportunities for people to worship and serve alongside our families when normally it is not possible because of the variety of services and Bible study classes that keep them from doing this on a weekly basis. On the other side, the power of having a child watch his or her parent as they worship and serve affects them in ways that will overflow into the child’s life. Like watching a parent exude character, truth, integrity, and digging into the Word of God on a daily basis, seeing this mentor worshipping Jesus is invaluable.
10. IT GIVES EACH GENERATION FAITH-BUILDING EXPERIENCES.
We all believe that every person needs to have a personal relationship with the Lord, and all of us believe that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). Therefore, we must believe that God created us to be experiential creatures to first, experience Jesus as Savior over our lives, and second, to have continual “work” experiences that build our faith.
The Word of God has many examples to show this, one is the story of Josiah in 2 Kings 22 & 23. He had terrible examples before him as his Father and Grandfather were some of the most evil Kings in Israel’s history. But he had a personal encounter with the Almighty that changed everything. He first cleaned house of the evil in the land, then he reestablished all the rituals and traditions, including the Passover, so that these experiences would continue to grow the faith of Israel. Listen to how the Bible describes Josiah at the end of his life, “There was no king to compare with Josiah—neither before nor after—a king who turned in total and repentant obedience to God, heart and mind and strength… The world would never again see a king like Josiah.” (2 Kings 23:25) Wouldn’t you think the most incredible, Godly king in the history of the nation would be able to be the example for future generations? You’d be wrong if you think yes. Josiah’s very own son, Jehoahaz, reverted back to ungodly ways. 2 Kings 23:32 describes him, “In God’s opinion, he was an evil king, reverting to the evil ways of his ancestors.” All the Godly influence of Josiah was not enough for Jehoahaz to follow in his father’s footsteps. He lacked the personal experience of faith beginning and faith building. Other examples are Eli and his sons (1 Sam. 2), or even look at doubting Thomas (John 20). Even though Thomas, as a believer, was told about the greatest event that had ever happened, he needed to experience Jesus for himself. So many of the churchgoers in the next generations are living out a faith that is not their own. Therefore, when they are out from under authority, they choose to go their own way.
The church is losing the millennial generation at a staggering rate. A study has come out recently from a Christian university that shows that most of the Christians inside this generation cannot even clearly articulate what they believe in the first place. Could it be that the church has not allowed them to have significant “works” in their own lives that will strengthen their faith? This is why we have integrated in our ministries the aspect of gathering, growing, and giving multi-generationally. MultiGen ministry goes far beyond the worship service or gathering setting. It is also establishing that each person grows in their faith, as well as gives their lives away in service and missions. That through this model, an individual’s faith, no matter the age, is strengthened and is more secure for the future.
We are not discounting in any way the need and place for specific age and life-milestone focused discipleship in the church. On the contrary, it is a vital piece of growth for a person. However, there seems to be a critical balance in scripture between personal focus and an individual inside a multigenerational emphasis. We as the church must incorporate both practices and see the value of multi-generational ministry for clear biblical reasons as well as how it changes ourselves, our ministries, the church, future generations, and eternity.