There has been much discussion in the Church about whether we should be all together across the ages or whether we should be in divided age groupings. There are positives and negatives for both camps. I believe that if we could get into the rhythm of “BOTH/AND” we could get the best of both worlds. The trouble is the conversation has been more about “EITHER/OR” and I know I have been guilty of being a part of these conversations over time.
As I STOP to consider this week of “life together” in our community, I see that daily we oscillate in the BOTH/AND rather than the EITHER /OR. All have been positive and have their value. Last Sunday was filled with time across the ages of eating together, worshiping, praying and sharing all together(Generational connections/Big story of the Bible/ Encounters with Jesus). Then in our home over the past 2 days different ages have come together to spend intentional time together (Mentoring) as well as quality family time over meals. Last night my husband and I were out having a date night (family) and we came home to my daughter (14years) leading worship in our lounge with her peers and a message from my son (17years) saying he was at his peer’s house playing drums and worshipping with a full house of young adults. My husband sat out in the car park (because we didn’t want to disturb what God was doing) praising God for positive peer groups and yet very thankful that Sunday was full of all the ages coming together to celebrate and worship our God (Generational Connections). Today, our community tutors young kids in Maths and English. It is such a joy to see teenagers, young adults and the elderly all serve together to help struggling children in their school work. (Mentoring and coaching/responding with compassion/Serving in mission). The next two days we will see elderly groups and the youth connect separately for Positive peer groups and then next Sunday comes around and we will all be together across the ages (Generational connections) in a space we called CONNECT. This is simply an account of some of the things that happen with the people I do life with over this week. It is the rhythm of our community. It is a BOTH/ AND rhythm.
The key is a rhythm where these aspects are BOTH/AND and that we are intentional about them. As a family and a community of faith we desire to create spaces where this is an important part of daily life. It is important to take time to STOP every now and then and consider how you spend your days? What is important? Why do we do what we do? What has eternal value? Are we being intentional about this precious and limited time we have on earth? If we STOP and find that it is more a case of EITHER /OR then I think we have a problem. Is it PROGRAMS or PEOPLE? Is it WORK or FAMILY? Is it AGED BASED EVENTS or ALL TOGETHER? Is it LEISURE or SERVING. If it is either/or, rather than both/and we are missing key elements of our faith formation.
Q: What is your weekly rhythm? Q: What is your monthly rhythm? Take some time to STOP and think about it. It will tell you a lot about what you value as parents, pastors and leaders.
If you want to think more about Lifelong transformational discipleship across the ages visit here2stay.org.au
By Tammy Tolman