Messages filled with wisdom can appear in the most unlikely places. 

I call this one the “Odwalla Philosophy of Ministry.”

A couple of days ago, Kim bought me a bottle of Odwalla, which is a delicious brand of fruit/vegetable smoothies and juices.  This particular blend was called Blueberry B, a concoction of 1/2 cup of blueberries, 1/3 of a banana, juice from 1 3/4 oranges, juice from 3 concord grapes, 1/5 of a mango, juice from 1/3 of an apple, 530% of the DV of Vitamins B6 and B12, and lots of “good vibes.”  As I was reading this list of ingredients on the back of the bottle, I glanced down at the bottom of the label and saw the following:

“Separation is natural – shake it up!” 

Obviously, the phrase (which is copyrighted, by the way; legal disclaimer fulfilled) was intended to alert the consumer that the all-natural ingredients, in the absence of preservatives and other non-hip substances, would tend to separate over time and that the contents should be shaken thoroughly before drinking.  But, it is such a cool and colorful phrase, intentionally loaded with far more potential meaning than the bland and ubiquitous “shake well before use.”

My mind immediately jumped to the need for intergenerational ministry!  Didn’t yours?

While I am grateful for ground that has been gained in many churches over the last few years in promoting cross-generational involvement in ministry, it is still very much the exception rather than the rule.  Age-defined and demographic-based divisions still dominate too much of the life and landscape of the church.  While trumpeting buzzwords like “community” and “family,” churches slice, dice, and dismember the body of Christ into insulated and isolated ministries, classes, and activities, separating young from old and the married from the single, widowed, and divorced.  It is what LaGard Smith has labeled “generational apartheid” in the church.   

The young need the wisdom, experience, maturity, and mentoring of those who have journeyed the road of life and the walk of faith ahead of them.  The older ones among us need the vitality, energy, optimism, and fresh insights of the young.

While one may question whether such generational separation is “natural,” it is most definitely “traditional” and “dominant” in many churches, and, I would argue, “detrimental” and “less than Biblical.”  

“Shake it up,” people!