About bringing all ages together to worship and serve Jesus Christ.
A young lady from Indiana Wesleyan University contacted Dan a few years ago asking to interview him. She was doing a paper on multi-generational ministry and wanted his input.
Here are a few of her questions and a synopsis of Daniel's answers:
Are/would short term mission trips be beneficial to your ministry?
We have been involved with an orphanage in Tepic, Nayarit (Mexico) for many, many years. It is called Casa de Ninos and they model multi-generational principles so well. We have learned so much from them.
When we do take people with us, we have the condition that it has to be multi-generational. We have seen father's challenged especially when they see how little the orphans have and yet are so happy—because they are surrounded by loving adults! And the kids end up ministering to people out of that overflow.
One dad (who brought his daughter on the trip) said to me one night, “I am a terrible father. I brought my girl to see how good she has it at home compared to these “poor” orphans. Now I realize I give my girls everything but what they really need and want: me and the love of Jesus through me.”
How do you think youth are being treated in the church as a whole?
Unfortunately, it seems they have become a separate group from the church in too many ways. They are often viewed as the “church of the future” rather than what they really are: an important part of the Body of Christ now.
Daniel told the story of how our oldest son, Stephen, went to the weekly church visitation ministry for the first time. He knew there was a separate youth visitation ministry but he sensed the Lord leading him to go with the adults. The adults didn't seem to know what to do with him but allowed him to tag along with two older men. It was such a good experience, Stephen kept going and the people loved it.
When Stephen graduated, a man and his family told us that they came to this church because of Stephen. They were a family that Stephen had visited and the family was so impressed that a teen was with the adults, they decided to go back the next Sunday. The father said, “your son has had such a good influence on our kids over the years.”
What do you see as youth’s role in the church and your organization?
Before God established the Aaronic priesthood, Moses chose young Israelite men to offer sacrifices and burnt offerings—“Moses then wrote down everything the LORD had said. He got up early the next morning and built an altar…Then he sent young Israelite men, and they offered burnt offerings and sacrificed young bulls as fellowship offerings to the LORD.”—Exodus 24:4,5. God himself has made it clear that EVERYONE has a place of ministry in the worship service. And youth can play an even more important role and have a greater impact than many leaders assume.
Young people are commanded to set an example. When they are encouraged to do so, many will rise up. And the church will be blessed! I Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”
Children and young people can operate in the power of the Holy Spirit. Especially if they are taught that they CAN and then lovingly and responsibly RELEASED to minister. Acts 2:17: "'And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, ...”
How important is integrating generations in the church?
God wants ALL of us involved in worship. Psalm 148:11-13: “…young men and maidens, old men and children. Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.”
Having children among us should move us to see more of God's Holiness—Isaiah 29:22: “When they see among them their children, the work of my hands, they will keep my name holy; they will acknowledge the holiness of the Holy One of Jacob, and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.”
Too often, the attitude of adults is that children are a hindrance in worship. But God tells us that they have a powerful ministry: Psalm 8:2: “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.”