Intergenerational Small Group Video!

Here's a cool little YouTube video of a intergenerational lifegroup (holistic small group that includes the kids in the meetings and life of the group). There are little kids and elderly people in the same group.

Friends, segregating people might work for Sunday School classes, but in small groups, bridging the generations has a HUGE payout if those involved realize the benefits and press into what they can get out of it.

It also has a great original song written and performed by one of the groups' members. Enjoy!

Dry Creek Community Church, Riverbank, California. Michael Atinsky, Lead Pastor


Ben Reed said...

Randall, in our context, we don't have children in the group. We find that group members are more likely to open up about their struggles when their children are not in the room. I don't think that it's because they want to lie to their (or others') children, it's just that some things shared aren't appropriate for their (or others') children to hear.

Do you find that adults are as open to being honest and vulnerable when children are in the room?

Randall Neighbour said...

Ben, at first it's a struggle because the parent's aren't used to doing it... but that doesn't mean they should not find the humility required to train their children by modeling confession.

Now temper this statement with the fact that some matters, such as infidelity, should not be shared around small children.

But there's a whole world of stuff that could be shared, such as losing one's temper, saying mean things about others or gossiping, struggling with areas of weakness (which can be generalized if they content is too heavy) and so forth.

Think about this: If parents do not model confession, receiving forgiveness from others, accountability, and repentance in the form of doing life differently in the midst of adults so their children can see it and walk in the same way, we leave a huge gap in their spiritual development that Sunday School and Children's church and even family devotions do not provide.

The way I see it, if parents don't confess appropriate sins to their children and in front of their children in biblical community, those children will not see the power in it and will not adopt it as a lifestyle.

Ben Reed said...

I don't disagree with the fact that children NEED to see their parents modeling confession/repentance. If they don't see their parents doing it:
1. They will lean towards the idea that their parents are perfect...thus setting themselves up for failure.
2. They won't know how to appropriately confess/seek repentance because they haven't seen it modeled.

So, on that, we agree.

I guess I just question whether that's the best environment for it to happen. I'm going to confess my sin, and ask for repentance, when I wrong my son...but I'm going to do that with just he and I (and anyone else who's involved)...not in our small group.

So I think that this modeling can be done outside of the small group setting.

I love the discussion, though. It's really getting me thinking about how we, at our church, and me (in our home) integrate children into authentic, biblical community. Thanks for stirring my mind for action.

Randall Neighbour said...

You are correct. This is not the only place children should see their parents confess sin, but I'm betting it will be the first place many see it if given the opportunity to be in the same room from time to time (instead of being in the other room watching Veggie Tales or making a craft item to take home).

Ben, you are not the average small group member (I've met you and you are some kind of guy!). You've devoted your life to developing biblical community for believers in your church and I would expect you to be a far better example to your children than others.

Would you say that every small group member/parent in your church is modeling confession and humility for their children? If not, how and where are you teaching these parents to do these things with their children?

Those kids don't learn it in children's church or Sunday School. And while the pastor might share the importance of it from the pulpit from time to time, this doesn't mean the parents are actually doing it.

Phil. 2:12 discusses the importance of working out our salvation together with fear and trembling. If the major aspects of the Christian walk (including parenting) are not encouraged in the small group gathering, there's a good chance it's just theory or idealistic thinking that never becomes a lived-out value.

Call me a pessimist, but I don't see this aspect of raising children in a manner according to the Lord in the American small group movement today. Segregated ministry is still the norm.