Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Age-Segmentation Fails

a Biblical thought...
One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan.
Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" Then he said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well." (Luke 17:15-19)

a Book thought...
Every step, indeed, along his whole diversified path had contributed to his development, deepened his understanding, widened his knowledge, expanded his sympathies. (p105)
a Dave thought... by Kara Powell
Rainer Research estimates that 70 percent of young people leave the church by age 22. Barna Group argues that the figure increases to 80 percent by age 30. But there is a strong link between kids staying in church and their involvement in intergenerational relationships and worship.

The Church adopted the age-segmentation model when we realized in the 1940s that we were not offering teens enough focused attention. So what did we do? We started offering them too much. All of a sudden churches had adult pastors and youth pastors, adult worship teams and youth worship teams, adult mission trips and youth mission trips. And there's a place for that. But we've ended up segregating—and I use that word intentionally—our kids from the rest of the church. Now we tend to think that we can outsource the care of our kids to designated experts, the youth and children's workers.

It is like what we do when there were too many of us to fit in one room or around one table at family gatherings. We adopted the two table system. The adult table had pleasant conversation, while the kids' table usually degenerated into a Jelly snorting contest. Theoretically we were having the same meal; but we were having two very, very different experiences. That's what we've done in churches today.

One of the real advantages of being a smaller church is that there is a lot more potential for intergenerational relationships and longer lasting faith. It's a general rule that the bigger the church the more segmented the age groups and generations are from each other. So I look at a church of a hundred and think, Man, what potential there is to have meaningful relationships.

I remember what a privilege it was to be invited to the adult table. Adults underestimate how much kids want to be with us. Kids are far more interested in talking to caring, trustworthy adults than we think they are.

Just a thought.

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