Small Groups Recreate Broken Families
In the early church, it wasn’t unusual for new believers to be thrown out of their family. They would become Christ followers and the parents of these new converts would force them to leave the house. Sometimes unbelieving spouses would choose to divorce their converted spouses. People would show up at the church with no place to go.
What did the early church do? The church adopted them. Young believers were assigned to the care of older believers. It wasn’t unusual for young adults to move in with their new families and learn the trade of the house. Young women were brought into homes as daughters. Men became brothers and women became sisters in the new family of God being built in the power of the Risen Christ. The titles, “brother” and “sister,” have now become punch lines in religious humor, but the words used to mean something in young churches trying to stay alive in the growing hostility of the Roman world.
Interestingly enough, we find ourselves in a similar situation in the post-modern church. Due to the break-up of the American family, many people come to our church as “orphans.” That is, they haven’t had adults speaking into their lives in any significant way. As a result, most young adults are confused about what matters and, in general, have a lot of questions about how to live a life that matters.
Think about it: they’re trying to be a husband and they’ve never seen one… trying to be a wife and have never seen one… trying to be a mother and a father and have never had one…
For this reason – and a lot more – we’ve discovered the value of inter-generational small groups. They literally recreate the family in the power of the Risen Christ.
- Grandparents have new grandchildren to love
- Senior adults have a place to share their wisdom
- Young adults can ask their questions in the safety of unconditional love
Everyone wins – senior adults, young adults and their children. That’s why we encourage our senior adults to “adopt” young couples they see sitting next to them in worship. We want young couples to take more mature couples to lunch. The treasures of wisdom our senior adults have can’t be found anywhere else. The energy of young lives brings a new enthusiasm to our senior adults.
We often quote how Jesus makes all things new. This is true. He makes us new people and then, He gives us new families. Together we are molded more into His image through the love and encouragement of others who Christ brings into our “family.”
So, here’s your homework:
- If you’re a young adult, adopt a senior adult.
- If you’re a senior adult, adopt a young adult.
Show your love for Christ by loving those sitting closest to you on Sunday morning.