Church Family - All Ages, All Backgrounds
In our preaching series ‘The Good Fight’ we recently saw how the church is a family made up of men and women, of all ages and from different backgrounds. The joining together of different people in one community is part of what makes the church so wonderful and is one way that God displays his wisdom, not only to the world but in some mysterious way also to heavenly powers. (Eph 3:10)
In 1Tim 3:15 Paul refers to ‘God’s household’ and then throughout the following chapters he mentions the full range of people in the church in Ephesus; older men and younger men, older women and younger women, widows, children, grandchildren, parents and grandparents. The church is a family, with men, women, old and young all brought together in one faith and purpose, and worshipping one God. The church is multi-generational and we must celebrate that fact and resist any urge to build a church for older people or a youth church, or a church for marrieds or a church for singles – that is not family; family is everyone all together. Of course, it is far more convenient to have a church made up of people just like me – who share my musical style, who talk like me and pray like me and so on – but that is not what church is; the church is a family which means we have to compromise.
But as we saw when considering this passage, the danger is that we say ‘we all need to compromise’ but what we can mean is that ‘others need to compromise’. This is a classic case of ‘NIMBYism’ – Not In My Back Yard. Everyone sees the benefits of wind farms and renewable energy but they just don’t want wind turbines in their back yard! Church can be just the same - everyone sees the need to compromise, they just don’t want to be the one who does it.
The link below takes you to an insightful article written a few years ago by American church leader John Ortberg where he considers ‘multi-generational’ church and explores how we can learn from each other. So, whether you are old or young please read the article. It will hopefully give you a fresh appreciation of where others of a different age to you are coming from, and help us better work together as a church family.