This past weekend, we had our Youth Fall BBQ kick-off hosted by the Clarks in Arlington (thanks Clark family!). I was curious to see how it would go, knowing that we would have new 6th graders with us. I knew we would be running the gamut from 6th to 11th graders present, which is quite a jump!
It ended up being a wonderful start to the new program year. The most memorable moment actually came at the very end of the evening, when parents were coming to pick up their youth. By that time, it was getting darker and out in the grass two of our high schoolers started to toss a frisbee with two of our 6th graders.
I can imagine that being a 6th grader and joining the group with “the big kids” would be quite daunting. And here, in the most gentle of ways, they were handed a frisbee and welcomed into the game by two high schoolers, five years older and just about double in height.
In my time at Epiphany thus far, by far the most common word I hear when describing our community is “inter-generational.” This tends to be a goal of most church communities. For us, not only is it a reality, but it’s a value. A community can be inter-generational without it being an inter-generational community. Just like how diversity doesn’t automatically mean there’s equity. But I have already seen the seeds of the real stuff here at Epiphany.
When we say “inter-generational” we tend to think of kids, youth, and adults, but what we witnessed this past Saturday was inter-generational care and connection within a youth group. We all know that every grade between 6th and 12th grade involves some significant life development and growth. And at school, you’d typically stick with the people in your grade. But at church, we practice friendship across grades, generations, and all kinds of difference, because that’s what Jesus would do.
I am looking forward to the ways we build community with one another this year, bringing little bits of heaven here on earth.