Intergenerational Relationships


(Tabitha Gallman) #1

Do you think there is a significant disconnect between the different generations of today’s culture compared to that of prior time periods? If so, how can we begin to connect better with one another specifically within our local church communities?

I also found some information online about Intergenerational Relationships within churches from a website called: fulleryouthiinstitute.org and read an article by Dr. Kara Powell here: https://fulleryouthinstitute.org/articles/moving-away-from-the-kid-table

I found this concept very interesting and am wondering if you recommend this type of “community” for churches that may be having problems with youth not coming back to church after graduating from H.S. and/or college?

I don’t see intergenerational relationships in church only benefitting our youth, but the whole “community” in churches as a whole. What are the thoughts from the members of this community?


(Lakshmi Mehta) #2

@tabby68, I agree having kids with adults is a great idea. My thoughts are are about including little kids. I can share one experience we had at our home bible studies. For the first five years of life we had the kids separate from the adults. As they learned to read more fluently, age 6-7, we let the kids sit in with the adults during the study. Bible study time being interactive, kids got excited about participating. They enjoyed the singing during worship and were excited to show off their reading skills by reading scripture in front of others. In just about a year of doing this, I see kids developing a love for God’s word. We saw how the quality of the studies improved when adults were more mindful of the little kids in our midst. I am reminded of the verse, until we become like little children, we will not see the kingdom of God. (Matt 18:3). We tend to think we need to make everything fun for kids but they are naturally drawn to truth. It’s all new and exciting to them and helps intergenerational conversations. However, I think the composition of the group is very important for a healthy group. Carrying this idea to a large church setting is much more difficult. One way I have seen it being done is having kids message given by the Pastor before service and then dismissing kids for fun stuff.


(Tabitha Gallman) #3

@Lakshmismehta, thanks for sharing your experience of your home bible studies with children. I had not thought of that necessarily because my mind has been so focused on the older kids. That would be a perfect way within church’s small groups to incorporate intergenerational relationships. The church I attend is going through some very hard transitioning as we all get on board our pastor’s new vision for the church. His vision is to reach the unchurched within our community that are predominately 20-30 year olds. He has shared statistics about the demographics, and I admire his energy and enthusiasm, but at the same time some of us empty nesters and older generation aren’t quite sure where we fit in. Many older members left after one particular sermon was preached by a supporting leader within the church. His sermon was pretty harsh (here is that sermon:

http://meadowdale.org/sermons/#preacher-sort_brian-holland

, but I am torn as to what I should do. We began a few small groups and my husband and I just joined a small group for empty nesters. We attend our weekly group four about 4 weeks, then our pastor announced that all our small groups would be participating in the church-wide Purpose Driven Life study. Once the PDL study is over, maybe I will know what my purpose is (although as one lady said, “Why do we have to know what our purpose is if we keep Christ as our focus?”…I thought she made a good point.


(Lakshmi Mehta) #4

@tabby68, Now I see where your question is coming from. In general, I think the more all the age groups are represented well in the church the better the longevity of the church. I also think intergenerational strategies will allow the old to guide the young with all their experience and the young have an opportunity to serve the old and alongside them. The young may have the passion and stamina for outreach efforts but are in need of mentoring. I wasn’t sure from the sermon if the church you are in is predominantly of an older age group. If it is, I think its practicality difficult for that vision of reaching out to the 20s - 30s happen unless there is a concentration of committed younger Christians with the time, strength and stamina. Some kind of merging with another younger organization may be necessary. I used to be in a younger church of 20s - 30s, our church nurseries were full of babies and understaffed and I often found myself needing someone older to speak into my life that I couldn’t find. Now, we are in a multigenerational church and its great to see different age groups serving each other. They have opportunities to serve such as afterschool care for those in need, campus ministries, ministries serving seniors, various recovery groups whether sickness or life events etc. that allow for building intergenerational relationships. At the same time, we continue to have age based small groups. Someone with more experience with serving on a church board will have better advice on your concern. I didn’t know Purpose driven life is still popular, I remember reading it when it first came out, and I didnt figure out my purpose :slightly_smiling_face: I think the threads here on Connect are helpful on that too. Knowing what strategies/programs the new pastor is proposing and its suitability to where you are right now is definitely an important consideration. I hope things get sorted out soon for you. May God give peace as you figure out what to do during this transition and guide the leaders at your church.


(Tabitha Gallman) #5

Thank you so much @Lakshmismehta for responding. I agree about the longevity of the church. Before our previous pastor retired, I would say we had a more multigenerational group. Now we have a predominantly younger group.

The church began in 1968 and my husband’s Mother and Dad were some of the founding members (and I don’t know if you heard the part of the sermon where the preacher was referring to some of the “older” people, but he actually said: “…and you may even have a plaque with your name on it”. )

My husband’s mother had a S.S. class named in her memory. She died in 1980. One of the deacons gave the plaque to my husband shortly after the new pastor began because the S.S. classes have all been changed into what are called community groups that meet according to the needs of the church, and they make it convenient for those that are unable to make it to Sunday services.

I can definitely understand a need to bend and become a little flexible for a younger generation, but as I run into people in town that have moved on to other churches, I am beginning to feel a little less connected to my church. Many of our friends are attending other churches, and a few are not going any where.

It kind of seems like church is becoming a smorgasbord for worshipping styles. Internet makes it easy to go online and pick and choose before you visit to see which has the best ministries, then the decision comes down to the visit where you choose based on the sermon and music. It reminds me of some of the John Christ youtube videos I’ve seen.

Maybe I’m just a little bitter about the whole situation, but maybe I could just work at some outreach toward an older generation of seekers. :slightly_smiling_face:

Yes, I love this community and I feel you are living out God’s purpose here. You give a lot of good advice and have definitely encouraged me. Thank you.


(Lakshmi Mehta) #6

@tabby68, That’s got to be really tough seeing your old friends leave after investing into the church over generations. I pray that clarity will come into the situation and that the Lord will heal all hurts. Thanks for your kindness and encouragement as well. I have also learned from your posts.