Before anyone takes offense to me calling anyone else crazy, let’s just admit for a hot second that you are indeed crazy. Every last one of us is. Now let it go, let it go** because this post isn’t about you–it’s about some other crazy person, over there. (**Bonus points if you sang the second half of Let it Go from Frozen.)
I believe that each congregation of believers (and grouping of friends for that matter) fosters an attribute that is unique to them. Some foster several, but there will be one if you study close enough that will peek through each ministry and be concurrent throughout the framework of their program and outreaches. I have seen this in several churches now and am fascinated.
It’s been just over two years now since we moved on from a church in South Jersey. This church of course was like any church and it had it’s flaws and idiosyncrasies–but it also had extreme character and heart. The one aspect that stood out to me from this church was Generational Community.
I’ve never had so many women who I’ve connected with so deeply and completely. Nor has the age range of my friendships been so broad. From teenage girls to great grandmas, I feel I had made friends and confidants in each stage of life. I’ve heard people who have moved on from this specific church speak similarly in the past, but I never fully understood it until now when I am looking back. They genuinely liked me–and I’m genuinely crazy.
Just this past week I connected with a friend. She was a childhood friend, college roommate, and we have continually re-connected over the years. We struck up a conversation on Facebook and somehow got onto the topic of community within churches. It is so hard to find community within churches–not because there isn’t a community or because a church is too big or too unorganized or too fill-in-the-blank. But it seemed like there wasn’t a community for our current stage of life.
We are both working moms, with working husbands and kids. There are mommy groups for moms of kids, but they meet at 10am on a Tuesday–which is right in the middle of my mojo. There are mommy groups for college kids, and even parents of teenagers, but it seems like when it comes to our unique niche, there just isn’t something available. We both attend different churches, in different states, and neither of us have what we are searching for–community and grace-filled guidance from mommies who have been there.
Sure we have parents and grandparents and friends, but sometimes we need outsider commentary. The one thing I could count on from the Generational Community of the church in South Jersey was their ability to extend through each generation. It wasn’t a grandma telling me how to rock my infant so he wouldn’t cry. It wasn’t a teenager rolling their eyes at me for not understanding the latest trend. It was like my own grandma teaching me, and my own little sister showing me the latest fashions. It wasn’t weird, it was family. Never before and not-exactly-the-same since have I felt that attachment and understanding from a group of believers and friends.
Perhaps a year or so after transitioning from the church in South Jersey, I heard my husband confess that he didn’t think the transition from that church to help plant a new church in North Philadelphia would be so hard on me. He didn’t understand the intense connection and family that I had built and fostered there. He knew they liked us, but he didn’t realize how strongly that had impacted my heart.
Even now, years after attending the church in South Jersey, and a few months after transitioning from the church plant in North Philly (which is doing phenomenally by the way), I am truly able to treasure and see the fingerprints of God. I do indeed have an ever-growing family of crazies. Each of us have giftings and talents and each of us are driven by different passions. We are each uniquely made and uniquely gifted–and uniquely crazy.
People crazy about generations, people crazy about culture, people crazy about racial diversification, people crazy about kids ministry, people crazy about college kids, people crazy about teenagers and the next generation, people crazy about cultivating talents and giftings—just crazy people, everywhere.
I have the best spiritual family anyone could ask for, and it grows by the day. But my thoughts for you today are:
- What are you crazy about in the church?
- What does your church/community do REALLY well? (If I had asked the church in South Jersey this question, they would have said potlucks, not generational community, so this might take some thought).
- What does your core family do really well? What do you WANT them to do really well?