Rivalries

The Red Sox and the Yankees.

Tom and Jerry.

UCLA and USC.

Batman and the Joker.

Coke and Pepsi.

The Hatfields and the McCoys.

Classic rivalries are all around us. Here's one you may have never thought of: 9am Classic and 10:45am Modern gatherings at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church, Los Alamitos. It's not quite the Hatfields and the McCoys, but sometimes, if we're not careful, our two worship gatherings feel like two different congregations at best, and a sibling rivalry at worst.

Perhaps you haven't felt this. In fact, I hope not! But, in the recent past, I've had conversations with a number of folks who've felt this way.

Now, even if members of our congregation have felt that way, that wouldn't be enough to make any changes. While that might feel a bit harsh, my point is this: As a church, we aren't guided by our feelings or our what we like or, more importantly, what we don't like.

We are guided, first and foremost, by God's Son, our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Secondly, we are guided by God's Word, the authoritative Scriptures. Then (and only then), we are guided by our mission to

Invite all people to grow into a Christ-centered life in God's family.

Implicit in this mission are our three core values: Authentic Evangelism, Biblical Discipleship, and Intergenerational Family. 

Now, organizations have values and aspired values, the difference being whether they are currently lived out or the organization is trying to live them out. "Intergenerational Family" is an aspired value. We want to be an intergenerational family, but we aren't quite yet. There is still work yet to be done. 

You see, "intergenerational" is different than "multigenerational." Multigenerational simply means there are multiple generations present at Good Shepherd. We already have that covered. But intergenerational is another story. The word can be defined as "relating to, involving, or affecting several generations."

As such, for 9 nine weeks this summer (beginning July 8th through September 2nd), the Session of Good Shepherd has voted to "blend" our worship gatherings, in hope of living into this aspired value. We will return to our "regularly scheduled programming" on Sunday, September 9th. 

One of the other reasons for this little 9 week experiment has been inspired by our summer book study on Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church. As it turns out, one of the most important aspects of helping young people retain their faith through high school, into college, and through their young adult years is intergenerational worship. 

Really. It's true!

I know some of you are reading this thinking, "Well, obviously! That's not news."

Others aren't convinced that blending our worship services is worth it.

I understand. It's difficult to let go of a thing we like, whether that's the Classic or the Modern Gathering. It's difficult to let go of what we like, even for 9 weeks.

Paul's letter to the Ephesians is one of my favorites. For that reason, our "Welcome Home" series in Fall 2015 was such a joy for me. In chapter 2, Paul writes, 

Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands) - remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his fleshthe law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of his household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy templein the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit. (verses 11-22)

The Red Sox and the Yankees.

Tom and Jerry.

UCLA and USC.

Batman and the Joker.

Coke and Pepsi.

The Hatfields and the McCoys.

The Jews and the Gentiles.

9am Classic and 10:45 Modern.

Or... "no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people."

Pastor Curtis

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