Do large age gaps hurt small groups?

Have you ever gone to a party where every person you met was different from you?

Last week, I visited a small group knowing nothing about it except that they met at a certain time. When I got there I found that the group consisted entirely of people my parents’ age.

I’ll admit that it threw me for a second, and then I settled in. It was a group of incredibly gracious, generous and delightful people. We shared a meal together and chit-chatted about the church, life and spirituality. I was surprised to find that despite the age gap, the spiritual issues we were each thinking through were quite similar: wondering how to balance our work, personal and spiritual lives; how to reach out to coworkers and friends; general issues of faith and belief.

It was, in short, a healthy and friendly small group discussion.

Eventually, though, the leader asked us each to share what we were thankful for. As we went around the table answering the question, the generational gap became obvious. Most group members were thankful for things like their children (most of whom were older than me) and grandchildren. These were things I could appreciate in the abstract, but with which I had little personal experience.

I do wonder if there comes a point where intergenerational small groups diminish in effectiveness. I think we can learn something from everybody, but are there good reasons to attend a small group that’s full of people who are in the same general social and life situations as you?

Share your thoughts!

4 Responses to “Do large age gaps hurt small groups?”

  • Jess says:

    I agree that each generation has something valuable to add. Yet, I also have both enjoyed and kind of been outside of a different age group. I can empathize, listen, pray – but I can’t say that I really understand some of these things first hand.
    Maybe, when we learn to act more like a body in heaven the differences will matter less. Or rather, will be more utilized to God’s delight. I hope so.

  • Keep All Ages together at church. All are equal in the eyes of God. after our church family bonding and teachings we can move on to our age differences. Some go to 5 star restaurant’s and, others go camping. So long as God is in it, Blessing every victory, the holy spirit will satisfy the deepest longings of our souls.

    • Darrell says:

      Jimmy I agree some what. I believe that the most knowledge shared is in an all age group. But it is some times harder for new Christians to communicate. Because of them still being on the milk. And they need time to grow. But this is my own personal experience. GOD bless.

  • Jeremy says:

    My wife and I meet with a couple that is nearly old enough to be our parents, but we have actually been believers longer than they have. It’s an interesting dynamic, but one thing I have found I appreciate most is that these older folks have a great deal of life experience to impart on me and my wife. It’s much easier to work out problems when someone is there that can say, “been there, done that, God came through.” In this way, I really think having a mixed group is a blessing.

    I also think it’s Biblical to have elders share with the young. Many times Scripture references the duty of elders to teach young people. It’s a blessing for both sides and everyone can grow. Overall, I suspect even if we can’t fully relate to one another, we can each bring something to the table that God can use to bless everyone and that’s really what’s important.