Is the Church Driving a Wedge In Our Families?

An alternative to the segregated small group.

Back in the 60s, Billy Graham asserted that the eleven o'clock hour on Sunday is the most segregated hour of the week. Of course, he was talking about racial and ethnic issues, but there is another segregation that has been going on in church for many years: the segregation of our households. Today in many, if not most, of our church's worship services, our kids stay with their parents until _________. In some churches, that blank is just after the children's chat. In others, it is until mom or dad walks the tot to the nursery or Kid's Church in another part of the building. Today's church is sadly notorious for adding to the fragmentation of the family. Why not? Fragmentation is part-and-parcel of our Western society.

Think about it. Not only are kids banished from the worship service, Sunday school is age graded—just like in "real" school. We segregate our children from most church activities, from virtually every form of Christian education, and from many of our fellowship events—Youth groups, Middlers, Juniors, Church Camp, and the list goes on.

Our small groups are no different. The church has been segregating small groups at least since their modern inception when John Wesley divided his "Classes" by both gender and age. The church has been guilty of "asundering" for a long time.

There has been a move stirring below the fabric of society to reassemble the family. I am not aware of any serious lobbying, but some Christians are beginning to question some of what has been the norm for so long. They are looking for ways to re-assimilate their households. In that vein, there is a movement underfoot which I call the rise of Village Groups (from "It takes a village to raise a child."). A Village Group is an intergenerational ...

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