There is something that I want to figure out how to get going. I believe the church is a single entity that is supposed to work together; rather I believe that is what the ideal church is, but not what the existing church is. Most churches I’ve been in have pretty distinct divisions. First there is the division of the “church” from the “Church.” That is, the entity that meets within a given building is separate from the entities that meet at other buildings in a community. This is not how I believe the Church is intended to exist, and it is a fairly recent phenomenon in church history that is failing miserably in America. I’ve talked about this a lot, so I won’t spend any more time on this here. The next division is in the strata of ages. We have children’s church, youth services, young adult groups, all the way up to our elderly groups. Generally each group is formed around common grounds in age, with some additional consideration for life experiences; for example a newly married group might have a pretty wide age range with a focus on the first two years of marriage. This means that not only is the church broken apart from the Community Church it is also fractured within.
I have been working on getting some more crossovers in the Youth and the rest of the church. We have Youth nights in the Sunday evening service once a month and other such things, but I’ve found that these nights have the lowest attendance in the church if the youth aren’t counted in the attendance. I have also asked about having our students involved with the “Prime Timers” group, but last year it never happened. The person in charge just wasn’t into that idea at all. Now things are starting to look different.
In the past month or two the new leader of the Prime Timers asked me about having some of my students come to their meetings. We have also started up a new ministry, Angel Food, which is involving people from the various groups. I am very excited to see the stuff that I pushed so hard for over the last year and a half are starting to fall into place. It is frustrating that I worked so hard and saw nothing, but now it is just working, but it is also satisfying to know that God put the desire in my heart and made it happen in a way that I would know He is leading. This is important because there will be times of great turmoil, but knowing that God orchestrated this will help carry us through.
Tonight was a great example of this. Last year we went caroling to our shut-ins and it went well. We had a pretty full van and nothing went wrong, but there was something lacking. This year we had a ton of snow, about 2′, over the weekend and several students assumed that the event was cancelled. I had notified many that we were still having it but then they had plans. I ended up with 2 students from my youth and two from my young adults plus myself, and 2 adults that don’t regularly work with the Youth. I was more than a little disheartened. We got to the second location, a nursing home, and went back to sing for one of our parishioners that is ill. I was surprised at how much weight he had lost and how his mental faculties had been affected. He was still attending church a couple months ago. After we finished there we walked by a group in a common area and sang for them. Without any prompting on my part one of the students that did make it got down next to one of the women we were singing to and held her hand as she sang to her.
It was the most amazing picture of the church. I wish I had brought my camera. She didn’t know this woman but she went past the “group” and made a connection. Later, as we were driving, this girl said she wanted to get the Youth involved with visiting the nursing home. I’m all for it.