This post is a response to the previous post I wrote a couple of weeks ago named “2 Reasons Entertainment Doesn’t Work in Ministry.”
In all fairness, I wanted to get the negative out of the way before showing the positive. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, I wanted the reader to understand my philosophy of ministry specifically dealing with using entertainment to draw people to the church and ultimately to Christ. Secondly, I wanted to give some insights into this philosophy. I’m convinced there are many people who give reasons why they do or do not support something, yet they never go any further to give rational arguments for their case. I did not want to be “that guy.”
Therefore, I was urgent to post the negative before the positive. As said in the previous post, I want everyone to understand that I am not anti-events or anti-activities. Simply because I do not condone using activities, the fact does not define my philosophy of ministry as one that nullifies activities. Also, I was pertinent to put the positive up to ensure all readers that I never want to separate evangelism and discipleship with the community of the church. I firmly believe if a church is going to be focused on evangelism and discipleship, they should first be unified in this mission.
With this in mind, let’s examine how I believe entertainment (activities and events) can aid in your ministry endeavors.
Entertainment provides opportunity for fellowship.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer.”
Acts 2:42, CSB (emphasis mine)
The book of Acts is the first church history record ever recorded. Its content is a continuation of the gospel of Luke. However, the focus of the entire book of Acts lay in chapter one verse eight – one of the most popular proof texts for global missions (which we should all endeavor to support). However, this verse of Scripture should invoke much action toward 4 specific areas of ministry: teaching, fellowship, church ordinances, and prayer.
Fellowship is a vital ministry of the church. Fellowship is the ministry of the church that allows its members to pursue relationships with one another. Fellowship allows your church members to get to know other members that they may not know. Fellowship allows for you, as a leader in the church, to endear yourself to your members on a different level than simply visiting them or teaching them or leading them through spiritual disciplines.
Fellowship doesn’t just mean eating meals once a month after your Sunday night service. Fellowship starts with your heart. Fellowship is built by simply being with one another. The longer you spend with other believers, the more you will grow to love them. The more you pray for and study the Bible with others, the greater joy you will have simply by being in their presence.
But more than anything else, you need other believers in Christ. Just as much as the church needs you, equally you need the church. It builds community when others in your faith family encourage you. It builds unity when you get together as members and as friends and as family in Christ.
Getting together as the body of Christ serves a great purpose for the local church. Enjoying one another’s company in the Lord gives a great atmosphere for love and unity.
Entertainment provides an opportunity for intergenerational relationships.
“Don’t rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and the younger women as sisters with all purity.”
1 Timothy 5:1-2, CSB
This point is mainly a point for intentionality rather than simply the result of entertainment. However, there is an avenue that entertainment gives so that you can attain intergenerational ministry in your church. Paul exhorts Timothy here, even though he is a young man, to become relational with all generations of his church. Although there are different ways in which you relate to different generations, our job is to make sure we value every generation in our churches.
Intergenerational ministry should be a priority in your church. Why is that? Studies have shown that younger generations are not maturing as quickly as they used to decades ago. The research concluded that young people are spending more time with people who are just like them, rather than people who are more mature.
Personally, I grew up around people who were much older than I was. My father has been in a denominational leadership position for most of my childhood. He had several roles at Welch College in Gallatin, TN, as did my mother. So for almost nine years, I would come home from school and spend time around the administration of the college. I actually would carpool with professors and their children to and from school. Fast forward to 2002, Dad took a job as the Executive Director of Arkansas Free Will Baptists. One of the specific tasks of this job was to travel and raise support for the Free Will Baptist Cooperative plan. This demanded that we as a family travelled together, which meant that I was mostly around pastors and their wives for most of my teenage years.
For many years, I was friends with people who were older than I was, which returned to me with maturity in my own way. I say this without arrogance, but with some intentions. Intergenerational ministry will mature your children and teenagers in your church. This intentionality will provide an avenue for you to make much of every generation of your church. It will also mature the younger physically, but it will also help them mature spiritually.
For churches to become a healthy community of believers, I believe it is vitally important for them to embrace all generations of their faith family in the local church. Intergenerational activities/entertainment can help you accomplish that goal.
In summation, entertainment can benefit your ministry in so many more ways than what is listed here. There are multiple avenues in which local churches can take to build community and build an intergenerational dynamic in their local body of believers.
But what does it take?
It takes intentionality because intergenerational ministry doesn’t happen without a plan and execution of that plan. Intergenerational ministry doesn’t happen naturally. Naturally, people want to be with others who are just like them. It takes a step of faith and intentionally changing the dynamic in your church.