As you know, this month’s sermon series at Northwest Church is entitled ‘A Church for Generations’, where we are exploring the importance of each family member, young and old, and how we all can learn and benefit from each other.
Intergenerational relationships between younger and older adults are mutually beneficial. These relationships provide both parties the opportunity to learn new skills, share their stories and to receive advice about situations in which they find themselves.
In fact, a study from the Corporation for National and Community Service noted that interacting with older adults enables youth to develop social networks, communication skills, problem-solving abilities, positive attitudes towards aging, a sense of purpose and community service.
Here are some advantages to intergenerational relationships:
- Provide an opportunity for both to learn new skills
- Give the child and the older adult a sense of purpose
- Help to relieve fears children may have of the elderly
- Help keep family stories and history alive
In his recent teaching entitled “Generations Connected,” Pastor Mark Evans explains what this means in our church family:
Every generation brings a gift, brings strength, brings wisdom. If you're going to be generationally connected then you have to honor the gifting of another generation. You have to honor their music, you have to honor the way they worship.
This church wouldn't function if it weren't for most of the young people volunteering from the coffee bar, to the band, to the production team, and to the kids ministry. We're running on their strengths, and they're relying on our wisdom and safety.
For example, the younger generation is saying “I want to walk that path that you walked” or “I want the marriage that you have.” And actually, we can also do it the opposite way, where they say “I don't want the marriage that you had. Tell me how you screwed it up and recovered.”
That works for some in the next generation, but you have to have that spirit to adopt those who come in here and have no generational connection. We've got to learn how to befriend them, how to draw them in, how to connect with them in a way that no one else can.
So if you haven’t done it yet, try talking with someone who you would not normally talk to. Because the connection you make to someone in a different season or generation than you could prove to be valuable, even life-altering, in more ways than one.