145. Life Stage, Not Age

145. Life Stage, Not Age

We now have a diverse age group in The Seed, especially among single people. Majority of our congregation is single adults. Many of them are in university, but growing numbers are becoming working adults. Generational diversity is an excellent sign for church’s vitality, but it can also cause some issues. I believe the main problem can be the level of “connection” cross-generationally.

We are always looking to connect with people, especially those in the similar age group. The reason is the difference in age can create a gap in shared interests and concerns. It is the reason why we choose to hang out with our friends instead of our parents or young siblings, regardless of how much we love them.

But my suggestionis this. Instead of looking to connect with people on the level of same age, try doing it on the level of same life stage. People with different age but the same life stage have far more things in common, compared to people with similar age but different life stage.

I realized this strongly when I got married and had kids. I got married relatively early, so I was one of the few who was married among my peers. Once I got married, I realized I had very little in common with my single friends. Our schedule was different, and our primary concern had a wide gap. Once I had kids, that gap increased even more, and I almost felt like we had nothing in common. A young couple with kids has far more in common with much older married couples than single friends with similar age.

Same life stage, not age, has more potential to create a connection. High school students are encouraged to focus less on the grade difference and more on the shared life stage called “high school.” If you are a single working adult and feeling too old when you see university students, remember that you are more alike than unalike. Singleness is a big common life stage that can allow deep connection regardless of the age difference. Also, the majority of university students have co-ops or part-time jobs. This stage is when most single people are concerned about their career or their future spouse, regardless of their age. Married couples are also encouraged to focus more on common life stage called “marriage” than age difference when trying to connect with young people.