Do the elderly members of your congregation know the names of the children and their parents in your church? Is there much meaningful interaction between the youth and children’s departments? Does fellowship exist across the generations? If the answer is no or you’re not sure, you may want to consider some creative planning to bring together the different age groups in your church. This is a good thing to do because it promotes love, unity and warm fellowship. Such intentional embracing of all the members of Christ’s body is very instructive to young ones.
It was not so long ago that congregations worshiped together without the partitioning we often see in the church today; old and young tended to mix and mingle more both in and outside the church walls, and both benefited from it. Dividing up the church into age groups is a fairly recent innovation, and as with all progress, something was lost even as something was gained. Children certainly can benefit from a time of Bible teaching and instruction geared toward their cognitive development, and moms certainly appreciate being able to sit through a service without distractions! But the result of each age group evolving into separate ministries with its own interests and focus can be a segregation that doesn’t please God. We must pray and work hard towards overcoming this result; the rewards will be well worth it as the church grows in maturity and love. Titus 2 provides an example of how this should work in the church, with older women teaching and training younger women to love their husbands and children. It will be hard for this to happen, though, if there is rarely any interaction between them!
5 Ways To Connect Generations at Your Church
Here are some ideas to get the creative juices flowing as you think through how to bring together young and old in your church:
- Have your Sunday school class pay a short visit to an adult or senior Sunday school class. (Plan this ahead with both teachers.) Sing a favorite song for them, or recite a memorized Scripture passage. Encourage introductions and eye contact!
- Have children “adopt” elderly shut-in members of your church. Make cards and send gifts; try to post pictures so the ones who haven’t met him or her can visualize who they’re communicating with.
- Make cards and simple gifts for new moms and babies, or for youth celebrating birthdays.
- Help clean or decorate an area of the church normally used by seniors or toddlers.
- Host occasional after-church luncheons; invite two specific groups, like young marrieds and senior members, so that names and faces can (finally!) be put together, and friendships can begin to develop.
It’s exciting to think how such simple efforts could result in such rich benefits to the church. Where the motive is to promote love and fellowship among members of Christ’s body, God is honored and glorified and the church is built up.
Your creative ideas are welcome!