Why New Life Church is Age Integrated, Not Just Family Integrated
There are many important and biblical reasons for families to worship together during the church service, but New Life Church is not only family integrated, but just as importantly, we are age integrated. All of society has segregated us. From kindergarten through adulthood we are told that a certain age group meets over here and another age group meets over there. This thinking has made its way into our churches.
By definition, age integrated worship is when people of all ages are gathered to worship God together, but why is this just as important as families worshipping together? Age integration is so important because we need people of all ages in our lives for us to have the most potential to serve God. Each of us has needs that others can help to fulfill and each of us can help to meet the needs of others. There are many questions we can ask ourselves as we think about the needs of every age group within our congregation. Questions such as:
What younger couple would not benefit from middle-aged or older couples taking them under their wings and allowing them the confidentiality they need to speak freely of their lives and the needs of their families? What middle-aged couples do not need the encouragement, counsel and prayers of older couples to get them through tough decisions or difficulties with wayward teens?
What older person or couple would not appreciate love, kindness, and respect from younger people within the congregation? How many various ways could this be displayed to those who may find themselves alone when their spouse has died or their children have moved away?
What teen does not need a friendly, older arm to embrace them and pour love into their confused and changing lives? What teen may need help to break through their sometimes-standoffish persona? What may happen if a teen is told that they are thought of, and more importantly, they are being prayed for?
What little one does not love a hug and a kind word spoken to them? They need to be encouraged to obey their parents and told how blessed they are to have the parents that God gave them. How would a word from someone other than their parents encourage them to be silent during the service and told that they are appreciated for trying to be quiet and still?
What college student would not need to feel the sense of family when they are away from their own, maybe for the first time? College-aged students constantly surrounded by their own age group are like Solomon’s son who after inheriting the throne of Israel dismissed the older, wiser counselors and appointed his peers to those positions. Soon after, his kingdom was torn in two because of the foolish, immature counsel of his friends. These young adults coming to our church need older, wiser counselors. They need surrogate parents and grandparents and siblings to come along side of them while they are away from their own families. What college student would not like to know that someone is always there for them?
What single adult would not appreciate the feeling of brotherhood or sisterhood in a family of like-minded believers? What single would not appreciate a kind word about how blessed they are to have been given the gift of singleness (even if for just a time) instead of feeling like they are second-class members or always being set-up with some other single?
What widow or widower would not feel loved and accepted when asked to join in on events and know that a seat was saved for them? Age integrated worship leads to our singles and widowed members being able to join and sit anywhere and feel like they are an integral part of the church.
What does church look like when everyone, no matter what age or family status, is pouring themselves into everyone else? What does it look like when older saints are loving on teenagers and teenagers are carrying diaper bags for young mothers and young mothers are inviting college students home for lunch? What does it look like when the men of the church include the teenage guys in on their conversations? What does it look like when children are taught to respect and honor their elders and to be helpful when possible? What does church look like when every person, no matter what age, are both pouring themselves into others lives and also having others pouring into their lives? When we are age segregated that cannot happen. That is why age integration is so important because we need people of all ages in our lives for us to have the most potential to serve God. What would that look like? It may look almost heaven-like.