A new emphasis on connecting senior adults and teenagers has taken root at Wichita First Church of the Nazarene, and the result has been a church family strengthened by its intergenerational bond.
The idea started when student ministries pastor Larry Page shared his testimony during a Sunday morning worship service. His story of a childhood without Christian influence until an older voice was introduced into Larry’s life made a big difference and eventually helped him discover his call to ministry.
Dr. Ed Nash was one of the senior adults who heard that testimony and considered the need to help students in similar situations. The senior adult council, which leads the FAB (Fifty And Better) group at the church, decided to take the initiative to invite the students to a Sunday evening dinner.
“For almost two years I have been praying about a way to connect the older and younger age groups,” Pastor Larry said. “They have always been incredibly supportive of the students in so many ways – but THIS is what I have been praying for. I am confident that there will be victories in the lives of our students because of their senior prayer warriors.”
Before the dinner Dr. Nash called out the names of each of the students and paired them with a senior adult. They were introduced to each other; then enjoyed a barbecue dinner together. Each student and senior adult also exchanged cards with contact information and interests so they could stay in touch. The senior adults pledged their prayer and support of their assigned students as they journey through their formative years.
Young adults pastor Billy Byler offered a word of encouragement at the conclusion of the evening, thanking the senior adults and reminding the students that their church loves them.
“There may be times in your life when you feel alone, but that is not the truth,” Pastor Billy told the students. “God and His people love you, especially the people of this church, and tonight is proof of that. You know you have Pastor Larry; you know you have me and now you know you have someone else who will love you, pray for you and be there for you.”
Dr. Nash, a former Kansas district superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene, said he has enjoyed seeing the hearts of the senior adults and their willingness to engage with younger generations.
Wichita First Church of the Nazarene has been committed to experiencing Christ together in the heart of Wichita, KS for more than 100 years. For more information on the FAB (Fifty And Better) group call the church office at (316) 858-1400. For more information on Area 51 Student Ministries, visit firstnaz.org/ministries/a51stumin or find them at Facebook.com/A51stumin.