The Joy of Mini-Church: Part 2
Uncontrived intergenerational community is another joy of the mini-church.
The bigger the church, the more the crucial realities have to be programmed. Crucial relationships have to be turned into "goals," "objectives," and "measurable standards" with someone responsible to see the program succeed. Nothing "mega-" happens naturally. "Mega-" must be "visioned" and "staffed" and "budgeted."
Thankfully it's not that complicated in a small church.
Meet Ray. He's an older Dutch man with white beard and hair. His rich, sonorous voice stirs us all as he reads the Psalm for the morning. In the Netherlands during World War II he served in the underground and led clandestine assaults against the Nazis. When Ray tells me what he did to survive those horrendous months of war I sense that I'm at the edge of a suffering and pain that I'll never really comprehend. Ray deeply loves "Gott." To hear Ray's passion as he ends the corporate praying of "the Lord's Prayer"--"...and the power and the GLO-ry forever"--sends chills down your spine.
And the following Sunday, there is 11 year old Shelby, blonde hair, blue eyes, 'cute as a bug' as they say, reading for the congregation the Psalm of the morning. Her voice brings to us the 'voice of God' just as Ray's did the Sunday before. I've met Shelby's two younger sisters and I know her mom and dad. Shelby is sharp. She's already a seasoned trial lawyer in a little girl's body. I know from inside sources and I've seen proof.
For a small church, we've got the generations covered end to end. I baptized little baby Nathan on Mother's Day and I recently did the funeral of Mark who died unexpectedly at age 53, leaving a widow and four children and four grandchildren.
Nothing is contrived. We aren't trying to be intergenerational. We just are. Young voices and old, aches and pains, giggles and diapers, walkers and hearing aids, game-boys and hair-ties. We've got bald babies and bald old men. We've got young adults (like Julie and me...don't I wish we were still 'young adults'). Children have a place and space with the adults, and yet have their own space as well. We have singles, and widows, we have marrieds and remarrieds. We have war veterans and postmoderns. Most of all we have a common love for Jesus Christ.
As the pastor, I want people to know that God's voice sounds like the voice of everyone in our community. Not just mine, or Ray's or Shelby's. Even out of the mouth of infants our God speaks.
Life, intergenerational life happens in mini-church. What a joy!