It resonates with me because I have worried lately about church and my 13-year-old. I am also so thankful that as a kid I was able to develop many meaningful relationships with adults at the churches my father pastored, including many members of the Greatest Generation.
Multi-Generational Church Experiences
Among my sweetest memories are the times I spent on the Foust family farm in Kansas and the Brown family farm in Texas. I remember riding my bike to Pauline’s house during summers so she could French braid my hair. I remember the sandwiches Ruby fixed me after school, when I stayed with her when my parents went out of town. I benefitted from involvement in a multi-generational church experience. Thus far, Juliette cannot relate to any of this.
Here is an excerpt from Fitch’s post:
“Prototype youth groups are built on the worst of modernist assumptions concerning the way human beings develop as cultural beings. They play into the worse impulses of parents who don’t get what is happening right before their very eyes when their children start to take on the moral formation of the ubiquitous culture at large. (Parents want young hip experts to save their kids – UH THAT DON’T WORK!!). They think the answer is to somehow get their children to a place where the youth culture attracts them and somehow makes Christianity attractive to their age group. All these things, I argue, work against the child growing up into a vital and real relationship with the living God and what He has done in Christ for the world.”
For nearly 20 years, I attended a church with 3,000+ members, but in December, after a lot of struggling, we began attending a church very close to our home that has a reported 8,000+ members. The worst part about leaving my longtime church was pulling my daughter out of the youth group she loved. The worst part about attending the new church has been knowing she’s the new kid in the youth group and everyone else has been friends since they were practically babies.
And, I’m still struggling by the way. I want to serve among the poor and the broken, and yet, despite this desire, I more often than not have found myself farthest (and furthest) from them on Sundays. I believe we are all poor and broken in some way, so to be specific when I say “poor” I am referring to those living at or below the poverty level. When I say “broken” I mean those who have gone to hopelessness.
Last Sunday, we visited a church that runs about 30 people in morning worship. It’s located in what some would describe as a barrio where 99 percent of the residents live at or below the poverty level. This church does not have a youth group. Naturally, I was nervous about Juliette’s reaction, but she said she loved it and wants to return. It seems like the right place for our family, but like the Proverb says, we make our plans, but only God knows which way we will go.
How important is a multi-generational church?
Photo Credit: Leggnet via istockphoto.com. All Rights Reserved.