I grew up with the two-table system. For our holiday gatherings, there was an adult table and a kid table. It was easier. Adults had decent conversations while the kids burped and giggled. I didn’t like it; I wanted to sit next to Grandpa. Perhaps why I’ve since squeezed everyone around my dining room table!
The American discipleship model of breaking everyone up into age groups is about 100 years old. Apparently, the Church made disciples for roughly 1900 years before that, without special, age-specific gatherings for singles, women, men, married couples with children, empty nesters, and seniors. Imagine that! I think we underestimate how much the generations want to be together.
As we move forward, Hope’s asking a big question: will our 20- and 30-somethings sit at the same table with the 40-60-somethings who want to sit next to the 70-90-somethings?
Young people have kept me young at heart for years (I still carry a backpack!). Their goofy mannerisms and endless inquiries have enriched my life. But I’m also drawn to older folks. I love to hear all your stories. Would you love to hear mine? We could laugh about the things we have in common. Maybe we could celebrate a difference or two. What’s it like to be married to the same person for sixty years? Can someone explain why people use Instagram instead of Facebook? I have no idea. Let’s be brave. Let’s cross over.
Perhaps we can picture a typical trip to the zoo. Grandma and Grandpa share a million stories, Mom and Dad take a million pictures, while the grandkids ask a million questions. At the end of the day, everyone is exhausted—and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
May God enlarge our “table” so we can enjoy an extended family-type discipleship atmosphere at Hope.