Connecting The Four Generations In Your Church
At Joppa there was a certain disciple named Tabitha, which is translated Dorcas. This woman was full of good works and charitable deeds which she did. But it happened in those days that she became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room. And since Lydda was near Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent two men to him, imploring him not to delay in coming to them. Then Peter arose and went with them. When he had come, they brought him to the upper room. And all the widows stood by him weeping, showing the tunics and garments which Dorcas had made while she was with them.Acts 9:36-39
21st century Tabithas
I want to share with you a wonderful example of a Tabitha at our assembly. Perhaps she will inspire you to be a Tabitha in your assembly. She does not necessarily make tunics and garments for the widows of our assembly but she does bring comfort and joy to many.
This is what she does: Every few weeks she takes a few of the young girls with her, ranging from ages seven to thirteen, and visits the widows and elderly in their homes. They have treats or tea and just visit for an hour or so. And the widows and the elderly love it!
A hub that connects others
She is a blesser of many and connected to all. Like a hub that connects the spokes in a wheel, she connects certain people to other people who otherwise might get overlooked.
Her ministry fulfills many New Testament principles all at once. She is taking care of the widows (James 1:27). She is discipling the young people in the ways of Christ (Matthew 28:19,20). She is fulfilling the mandate to love one another (John 13:35). And she is honoring the Lord with her time, talents and treasures.
Connecting the four generations
There are four generations in a local church, depending on how you categorize them. In a general way, each assembly has four generations – the zero to twenty year olds, the twenty to forty year olds, the forty to sixty year olds, and the sixty to eighty year olds. These groups are children, young people, parents, grandparents.
Our modern day Tabitha has found a way to connect all four generations. She disciples the children, developing spiritual relationships among them and she connects with their parents too, organizing and reporting on things that she is doing with their children (that’s two generations).
But she also enables and fosters the exchange of wisdom and joy between the oldest generation of our church, the senior saints, and the impressionable children. Without her creative contribution, our assembly would have less sinews and ligaments holding us together, making us stronger.
I remember another brother a few summers ago who planned an outing for all the seniors of the assembly. They got a big van and drove almost a dozen of them down to the beach for a luncheon and an afternoon walk. Several young people joined in and many gracious words were shared across the table. The older generation felt loved and included; the younger generation gleaned wisdom.
Another brother hosts a seniors’ tea at his restaurant. He invites any and all who are over the age of sixty to come to his place of business and enjoy an afternoon of food and fellowship. Again, several young people attend and sit among the silver-haired saints as they dispense their fountains of godly experience and spiritual wisdom (Proverbs 16:31).
Decide to make a contribution
The Scripture describes Tabitha as “full of good works.” If the One who holds the seven churches in His hand were to assess your church, would He find any Tabithas within it? Are you, in some way, serving people, connecting people, discipling people, and showing love to the saints? If you are, you are imitating God and a smell smelling savor in His nostrils (Ephesians 5:1,2).
The work you are doing is valuable and noble. It is Christ you are serving. When Tabitha died, the saints showed Peter all she had done for them and how dearly she was missed. If you are a Tabitha in your assembly, keep up the good work. Thanks for keeping us connected and making us feel involved, valued and loved.
Photo by CDC