MissioLife: Intergenerational

When I was a little guy there was an old man in our church who had the right word for lots of situations. Here’s one I remember: at Christmas time, our pastor often asked college students to identify themselves and let us know where they were attending college/university. A number of schools were mentioned. About the time it was all over, ol’ Pop Brubaker would stand up and, finally grabbing the attention of everyone, would say, “I went to the school of hard knocks!” Everyone laughed, not because they hadn’t heard his story but because his story had become a fixed feature of our story and we all joined in knowing it was a good time for him to let us know again.

My church had people of all ages. We had a little kids, we had grade schoolers and junior highers and high schoolers and we had college students, and young marrieds (the natural progression back in the 60s) and … all the way up to Pop Brubaker and the Seniors my father taught in his Sunday School class.

And there’s more to this: most of us knew most of us. There is a tendency today to “do church” in niches, but this is a colossal mistake of missing the whole point. The church is a family, and a family is composed of two or three or four generations. Some folks move off and start all over again and live with no connections, but that’s not what a family is.

And the church is a family, and a part of that means the church is inter-generational. This is one thing I really like about MissioLife. MissioLife is a top caliber church resource that organically teaches the Bible — the whole Bible as the Bible’s Story, from Genesis to Revelation, for the whole church, from kids to the Pop Brubakers of this world.

MissioLife, then, then may have a powerful value in the global context. You may well realize that churches in other parts of the globe are more intergenerational than churches in the Western world. But that means MissioLife will be potentially challenging for local churches in North America.  I urge you to click on the link and consider MissioLife for your church as a resource that will connect young and old, and everyone in between.

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  • Scot, I am wondering if there is something sociologically taking place among under-30s along these lines, because I get the impression from a lot of people I know in that generation that they are more generation-specific than my age group was (I am 44). My generation would be guilty of its own “niche thinking” – race, socio-economic, political. The under 30s I observe don’t think in those terms, but I have noticed that they seem to prefer to keep to their own age more in the corporate activities they engage in. Or maybe I am turning into a paranoid old guy!

  • joey

    And the first thing we do when we get to church is divide people up into “age-appropriate” classes. Then we send the kids off to “children’s worship.”

  • RJS


    Dividing up for worship, failure to involve all age levels, except perhaps the very young, in worship, lack of intergenerational interactions – these are troublesome.

    But level-appropriate classes, often correlated with age? … I’m not in the same place at 52 as I was at 32, or 12. I sure hope I am not in the same place at 72 as I am today (I doubt I’ll ever make 92 … but if so I hope I’ll have grown and learned even more). And I hope that I have the opportunity to both teach and learn.

    If everything has to be intergenerational, lowest common denominator, accessible to all, teaching … then we raise a church that never moves from milk to solid food.

    If we dump all levels together but teach at a high level we lose the young Christian, whether young by age or by experience with the church.

    There is a time to split up and a time to come together. A time to teach, a time to learn, and a time to just be.

  • RJS

    And I don’t want to react too strongly, but in the push for intergenerational I think we need to be careful not to throw out the good with the bad.