A Healthy Church Should Always Look Something Like This

Gene and SkylarLast Sunday, Skylar and Gene chatted in the hallway between services at our church. I secretly took this picture of them. (I showed them the photo later and got their permission to use it here.)

That day happened to be Gene’s 90th birthday – a fact I didn’t discover until later. Skylar is in her early teens.

Three-quarters of a century separates their ages. Gene has great-grandchildren older than Skylar.

On Monday through Saturday their lives could not look more different. But on Sunday mornings, that distance gets reduced to no wider than the space between their chairs.

Gene can’t always make it to church any more. And when he does, he can’t sit in in the folding chairs we set up in the main room. So, while Skylar and the rest of us go into the sanctuary to sit, stand, clap and raise our hands in worship and learn from scripture, Gene sits quietly in an armchair in the lobby and listens.

When the service is over, the second part of church begins for Gene. He can’t get up and walk around as people talk, laugh and hang out in the lobby, so he stays in his chair. But he’s seldom sitting alone. People like Skylar stop and chat with Gene.

They bring him coffee. And they enjoy his quiet friendliness and wisdom. They learn about his life. They listen as he shares his passion for oil painting. They pray for him and he prays for them.

A healthy church should always look something like this. 

No matter how big or small the church is, these moments matter.

Pastors like me run around trying to keep up with all the work of the ministry, sometimes wondering how much of it really makes a difference. We worry about budgets, stress over attendance and learn about the latest methods for being relevant to a speedily-changing culture. And we argue online about every subject imaginable – and some that I never would have imagined we could argue over.

Meanwhile, people like Skylar and Gene ignore the noise, worship Jesus and share their lives.

In other words, they have church.

And Jesus is honored in that.


So what do you think? Do you have any stories from your church like Gene and Skylar?

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3 thoughts on “A Healthy Church Should Always Look Something Like This”

  1. One of my favorites parts of Sunday mornings used to be Connor and Warren. Warren was in his 70’s and Connor was in Junior High. Connor was searching for a mentor in his life and chose Warren. Connor and Warren would sit together after church every Sunday and talk about their weeks, share prayer requests, laugh and pray together. After several years of meeting, Warren passed away. The memorial service was on a Friday and Connor got out of school to attend the service because he was one of the main speakers. He spoke for several minutes about how Warren had impacted his life. Today, Connor has found another older mentor and is almost ready to graduate High School. He is a godly young man who serves the Lord faithfully, seeks to walk in purity, prays for his friends who do not know Christ and brings them to church with him.

    I am so thankful for men like Warren who understand the this is what older men in the church do – they encourage the faith of those who are younger. Warren and Connor understand church.

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