I first started coming to this church back in the summer of 2013. At the time, I had just graduated from college (go Bruins!) and knew that I’d be returning to live with my family in the area. However, I didn’t have a home church to return back to. I only knew that I needed to find a community of believers to invest, serve, and walk alongside with to mature my faith. Ultimately, what I was really looking for was to be rooted in a faithful, Bible-believing church within a community that I could call my family – a family of brothers and sisters in Christ that I could grow with and be held accountable to. While I initially did not know many people, by God’s grace, I became more integrated after joining our young adult fellowship and a women’s small group.
This summer will mark my five-year anniversary at FCBC Walnut. I can only say that I’ve come to love this church more and more. Like any other church, we have our struggles and we are made up of very imperfect people. However, I want to highlight something that I love about our church: I love that we can be united through intergenerational fellowship.
I love that our church is made up of many generations from every life stage, and it’s not something that we should take for granted. We have babies to adolescent children; single young adults to young, married adults; married couples with young children to married couples with grown grandchildren. Having multi-generations within a church is a blessed gift, and it also points back to God’s grace in saving generations. Over the past five years, I have learned much about faithfulness, humility, and sacrificial love from watching the older generation model these qualities in their service for our church. Whether they demonstrated this by taking out the trash after a meeting, or by inviting someone younger to their home for a delicious, home-cooked meal, or by teaching Sunday School for the past decade, they’ve shown me how to love the church.
I recall a particular memory, from a couple years ago, when my small group paired up with an older group of women for the first time. The schedule for that Saturday brunch meeting involved two of my favorite activities: eating and talking together. Each older woman generously brought a prepared dish to share so none of us younger ones needed to bring any food. A couple of them even demonstrated how to make some of their famous recipes to the rest of the group. Then we shared about ourselves: how long we’ve been at the church, how we came to FCBC, our jobs, and other fun questions that were randomly selected. Not only did I have a lot of fun talking and laughing with these older sisters in Christ, I was also tremendously encouraged by their sharing. We didn’t have any specific topics to cover during that time – it was just a natural, flowing conversation about. We had so much to share that we could’ve talked until dinner! Every one of these older women were so open to share their stories. I was taken aback by their transparency, especially when some of them shared specific details about the difficulties they went through in their twenties, lessons they learned over the years, and their everyday challenges in their current life stages. They had gained wisdom from their past sufferings, mistakes, and accumulated life experiences.
Titus 2:3-5 says, “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”
To this day, that meeting still remains as a vivid memory in my mind. It was such a blessing to learn from these older women that had so much practical wisdom to share to me as a younger woman and sister in Christ. It meant so much to hear their perspectives on the future because they’ve been through more stages in life than me. I left that meeting feeling refreshed, challenged, and strengthened in my faith. I also left feeling more connected with them. That meet up wasn’t the end, but the beginning to some deeper relationships. I believe that any woman could have benefited from that meeting, regardless of age or current life stage. I would say that in those precious hours, I learned more about how to be a godly woman, wife, mother, friend than reading from a book, simply by engaging in a conversation with those that continue to live out those commands.
As I reflect back on that memory, I’m reminded that the generations above us are the greatest available resources that we may have on what it looks like to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Our older brothers and sisters in the church are blessings that we don’t appreciate quite enough. They are the people we should be learning from the most. We can be blessed by them, as well as being a blessing to them. By learning from one another, we can practice walking in love and continuing to spur each other on in our relationships with God. After all, we’re going to be spending an eternity in heaven together one day.