Do you ever get tired of certain words?
We have a love/fatigue relationship with the word “intergenerational.” Sorry, it’s one of our YES! core values, but we confess that we sometimes grow word-weary and try our best to not overuse it.
Allow us to explain a bit further. Intergenerational may sometimes sound like a buzz word or a passing fad churches may or may not find appealing or relevant. Because the word itself doesn’t appear in Scripture, some see it as a new, experimental, optional concept.
But, digging deeper, it’s clear God intends for all of us to have healthy, intentional relationships extending beyond our peer group, both up and down the age ladder—and both inside and outside our extended families.
We both grew up in churches privileged to know and love adults much older than us. We didn’t slap an “intergenerational” label on it … it was a perfectly natural expression of being part of our church families and the Body of Christ.
We felt loved by older adults, and we loved them. Praying at the altar on Sunday nights was common for both of us, and older adults were right there, praying fervently for us with a warm hand on our shoulder.
But, unfortunately, with our over-the-top embrace of age-segregation ‘experiments’, generation gaps have grown wider—both inside and outside our churches.
We can’t grow satisfied with just multi-generational churches, although they may be a step closer to that word we’re trying to avoid saying all the time.
Imagine bragging about having a multigenerational family—complete with grandparents, parents, and children—but then we discover your family relationships have fairly rigid age borders:
Your grandparents only interact with their spouse and peers. “Flitter on love flowing outside their peer group to their adult children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.” Your kids ignore relationship and advice from anyone outside their peer group. Multi-, yes. Healthy, no.
Thanks for grasping this inter_______ biblical calling and mission. Whew, almost said it again!