Just finished reading Mend The Gap from Jason Gardner. It was a well researched book that I did not want to put down. Whilst it looks at bridging the gap of the generations across churches, it does this from a youth perspective and provides some good insights to the changes in society, people and the wider world.
The book is written in 3 parts that deal with ‘youth culture and consumption’, ‘generational tensions and the church’ and ‘being God’s kingdom community’. Jason brings a strong insight into both the positive aspects and problems of youth culture and relates this well into the way the church handles young people. The end of the book has a variety of possibilities/solutions and opportunities for churches to bridge the gap between the generations whilst there is also recognition that this will be a costly or sacrificial exercise – but doing nothing could mean a greater cost!
It is certainly a book that youth workers will enjoy and talk about, church leaders will accept but struggle to apply and the wider congregation shout a loud amen to and then probably ignore. However, my hope would be that people would read this and respond – the gap can be bridged but it requires we all play our part, it is not an easy road.
My favourite line from the book (it stung me and has hung with me since) was: “In short, youth work empowers young people, listens to them, plays to their wants, but adult church is then perceived to rob them of their power.” p.83
I would recommend this book and if we apply some of its workings we may empower the young people throughout their lives and not just in their teenage years.