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Stepping Over the Gap

Dan Ruiter embodies the term "baby buster." Single and 23, Dan majored in music in college, plays jazz trombone, and collects Miles Davis CDs. He sports a goatee and bleached hair, dresses casually when he goes to church, and wears a leather jacket and chaps when he rides his Suzuki 850 GS motorcycle.

And, oh yes, he attends a small group Bible study with people in their fifties and older.

"My parents split up when I was 16," Dan explains. "My dad was a workaholic and did not disciple me. So when our church offered age-blended small groups, I signed up, because older folks know what's up. On my very first visit, I told the group, 'I'm looking for a mentor.'"

He found Charles Bartlett, a retired law enforcement officer. "As the weeks passed," Dan says, "we reached a level of trust where I could ask pointed questions, seek advice, and even explore areas in my life I needed to work on."

Dan and Charles represent what is becoming a renewed interest in many churches—trans-generational ministry. ...

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