December 4, 2017: All in the Family: Discovering Intergenerational Discipleship

Katrina CulbersonApproaching Thanksgiving and Christmas often draws our attention to our families.

We plan get-togethers, holiday parties, meals and trips to be with our people in celebration of our thankfulness and God’s work in our lives. In those moments that we have infants, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and children all gathered under one roof, it is undeniable how much we learn from one another and cherish that sacred time.

Experiences are enriched by relationships and perspective. People offer insight and support through genuine connection, different experiences and life phases. Our biological or chosen families may not always be close to us, but our church families are also family.

Earlier this month our 6th–12th graders had their annual Fall Retreat down in Glen Rose, and since then I have been reflecting on the beauty of several blessings that occurred during that weekend. These fantastic weekends full of worship, small group study and unique chances to hike and play could absolutely not be possible without the dedicated volunteers that join us. This year’s rock star volunteers were made up of a grandparent and those who don’t even have students in the program. We were all brought together by our love of worship, the outdoors and each other.

In the midst of all our playtime and discovery, and conversation around spiritual gifts, our students took time to pack all the generously donated care package items along with handwritten notes for our 18 college students. Watching three different generations come together to serve our congregation in love, on a weekend that was meant for them, really touched my heart.

We think of traditions and love being “passed down to generations” when, in actuality, love along with respect and reverence are powerful enough to span in all directions. Intergenerational discipleship is not just about taking care of those younger than ourselves, but about laying aside age and any other possibly dividing factor to truly love our neighbors as God loves us.

This Christmas season and following, let’s love everyone as our family. Find a new face to greet at worship. Volunteer for a children or youth activity. Take the time to visit church family you usually don’t see on your way to Sunday School. Time and love can make all the difference.

Psalm 145:4–6 (CEB)

4One generation will praise your works to the next one, proclaiming your mighty acts.

5They will talk all about the glorious splendor of your majesty; I will contemplate your wondrous works.

6They will speak of the power of your awesome deeds; I will declare your great accomplishments.

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