Tuesday, April 18, 2006

all ages needed

Looking at Scripture and life, I find that all ages are needed. All ages, from infant to youth all the way to old age (and everything between) are needed. The older building into the lives of the younger ("leading by example"). There needs to be an essential unity of community that includes all ages (better to have a crying baby than to divide everyone up so everyone can be more "comfortable").

Tonight there was a gathering of West Michigan emergents led by John Frye (at the Black Rose Irish Pub). Yes, the beer was good. There were no underage there, of course. But what did stand out, among other things was the difference in ages among us. How we are to be the Jesus community to the world was the heart of the conversation. Old and young shared. John had a fine presentation and paper for us, and stimulated a good conversation. Some of his basic points I will ponder.

A couple older gentleman, especially one at length shared. And some younger ones, including John's daughter shared, with that refreshing youthful enthusiasm. And I was impressed with the content of what was said.

I believe we need to guard participation in gatherings and events by all ages. Now granted, it can't take place most the time in the setting we met in tonight. We need all ages, including the very young, to enter in and be part of the whole.

We remember Jesus gathering little children and blessing them. And telling his disciples that one had to become like a little child to even enter into the kingdom of God. We all, of all ages, need each other.

Jesus. Let us be your people. Together. Those we're comfortable with, and those we're not. Young and old. Let us be generous and open. Knowing you are with us all. Amen.

5 comments:

julie said...

Thanks for your comments about last night. As I reflect on it after a good night's sleep, I think it was healthy and needed.
It was nice to meet you, Ted. Our daughter has deep feelings about the "church" and deep feelings about her God.

Julie

Ted Gossard said...

Julie,

It was great to meet you as well.

And I appreciated your daughter's thoughts and expression of them last night. She reminds me in some important ways of our own daughter.

Ted

Andy Nuetzel said...

2 Things...
I am reading Revelation with a bunch of middle schoolers and I am also reading it with a Men's group at my church (different events). In the men's group we are going with a commentary by Eugene Peterson, and he says something about how it is normally easier for kids to get some of the imagery as adults (like myself at times) can just be completely confused. Well last night when we were reading one of the middle schoolers asked if he could read it in a 'Cool' voice, meaning he tried sounding more like a movie pitch guy, than a high pitched 8th grader. At first I almost told him not to. Then I decided go for it if it opens up the scriptures to you more. It actually helped me to realize God's awesomeness and majesty and mystery as this 8th grader tried to read it in his 'cool' voice. So yea, I agree with you that all ages are needed and help out each other.

Secondly, I am about to graduate college and am thinking that I am going into youth ministry. Now for something that is naturally segragated, how do I connect all ages. I think I am called to work with youth specifically, but how does that work when I am not sure that we should segregate our churches by Age? Thanks

Ted Gossard said...

Andy,

Thanks for sharing that. Good to hear how God worked.

From my standpoint I think it is important for the youth to both have their own private times and place- together. But I think also they need to be involved actively- by special events that include them and all others of the gathering (adults, etc). And opportunities to share their gifts with everyone in special events/gatherings.

In other words, without violating the private space and time they need together (and in mission opportunities), they need to be integrated so that they are seen "upfront" as an important part of the whole community. Both in formal and informal ways.

Ted Gossard said...

Andy,

Marko may be one experienced youth leader who could help you. Here's his link: http://www.ysmarko.com/