Intergenerational community results in richer connection and a deeper context for spiritual growth.
“I’ve got another book for you,” Gregg, a small grouper in his late sixties, said, holding out a new commentary. “I thought this one should be in your library.” I accepted the gift with gratitude. Gregg is always ready to talk about my call to pastor, to pass along knowledge and his most-loved books and commentaries. He and his wife, Julie, are quick to affirm my call.
Since my grandparents have been gone for years, and my father also passed away in his fifties, Gregg and Julie feel like extended family to me. They believe in me, and they call me forward. Gregg and Julie have led small groups and ministries for years, yet they come to the group that my husband and I lead and willingly participate. They do not try to take it over; they simply join and support. Oh, and they bring donut holes or homemade goodies. Our seniors are very good about feeding the group.
As families find themselves spread apart geographically more than ever before, this sort of mentoring and investing in the lives of others across generations becomes more important. Our faith family fills gaps where we feel the separation from our first family. This is another benefit of intergenerational group life.
“What risks are you taking now?” Gregg will ask from time to time. He listens with care to my response. I confess my nervousness over a situation, and Julie tells me about how she handled something similar years ago. She reminds me of God’s faithfulness as she runs her fingers through a grey tumble of curls. I listen to Julie carefully when she speaks, and I seek out her opinion. She is wise from years of personal experience, and she has earned the right to speak truth into my life.