Extended families

Many older people have to survive all week without a single visitor, let alone a handshake or a hug from someone. Yet some cutting-edge social projects are bucking the trend by deliberately sticking older people in the same room as the parents and toddlers. The older people in these studies report greater levels of happiness, need less pain medication, and they live longer. This kind of ‘intergenerational’ approach is starting to take off in some UK churches, and it’s causing a bit of a stir. Fragmented churches are beginning to knit the different age groups back together into one big family unit. I wonder if there are any signs of this happening in your church?

Last week I heard about a granddad who’s volunteered to help out in our Sunday School, despite being totally green about our CRB-checking culture. Apparently, he always has a gaggle of youngsters at his feet and he seems universally adored. Reminded me of our own children who still say that the best Sunday School lesson they ever had was with an octogenarian bible teacher in a church we visited over in Cornwall. Could it be that this whole intergenerational thing is especially appealing to our men?

Well, maybe it is. Our, largely retired, buildings maintenance squad has recently taken under its wing a couple of younger chaps and the dynamic is changing. The men are forming mentoring relationships quite naturally – this is practical disciple-making in action, and no-one’s even trying…

Paul and Timothy? Hmmm! Kind of makes you think…

  • Baggy

    In other cultures, they’ve been doing this for years. It’s part of the culture. As you say, it’s time “the west” re-discovered this. Let’s pray the Church leads the way (that wasn’t meant to rhyme btw).