Have you ever caught yourself saying ‘well that’s no longer my stage of life’?
How often when we speak of young families, of making room in the church for children, even doing things differently for teenagers, are we quick to think that stage is behind us.
Too often when we focus on young families, we think that creates an ‘us and them’ mentality. Really, the desire of God’s heart is for family, for a church family to stand in the stages for one another.
To stand in a stage is simple: it is to support a family member in Christ, to stand for them in whatever stage they are living.
So, for the young family that is dealing with the pressures and busyness of today, we pray, we welcome them with open arms into our Sunday gatherings (even when they come late with hairs out of place). We invite them into our big family.
Think for a moment of Ruth. She had lost her husband, and now found herself having to choose to start a new life or to stand in unity with her widowed mother-in-law Naomi. The two had completely different life stages awaiting them: one looking to settle in a familiar homeland to live the remainder of her life, and another seeking new possibilities and a fresh start. Ruth could have easily said Naomi, “this just isn’t my stage of life,” leaving her mother in law for an easier road. Instead, she recognized that even in different stages of life, God still desires unity, love and respect within his family.
To stand in a stage is simple, it is to support a family member in Christ, to stand for them in whatever stage they are living.
Ruth, in vitality and promise, chose to stand with Naomi as a support person in grief, as a partner in a new adventure; and, although she was in a ‘different stage of life,’ she stood with her family.
To focus on young families is not simply to sing their songs or play games with their kids. What our young families need is a church family that, while not living the same ‘stage of life,’ actively chooses to stand in the stage in prayerful support and unity.
Reflection & Action
Reflect for a moment on the various stages of life God has seen you through, of His goodness in all seasons, and how the church has influenced your life.
Think of a family in a different ‘life stage’ than you that has attended your church. Pray for them today and ask God for a way you can stand with them: Perhaps by baking some treats, surprising the children with some stickers or crayons, or even calling them to let them know you are here.
I thank You for young families at my church. I pray that You would stir in me a desire to stand with them in prayerful support, that You would open my heart to understanding the stage of life they may be in. I pray You use me to welcome them into the church family, that my heart would be a heart full of unity. I pray that You are with each young family, each child and teenager today. I pray that, through Your spirit, we will all stand together to seek You more for our church, our community, and our individual families. Amen.
Ruth 1:16 But Ruth replied ‘Don’t ask me to leave you and turn back. Wherever you go I will go; wherever you live I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.
For more on how to be a church that discovers its mission from the inside out, read more here: https://formission.org/ministry-faithfulness/