by Captain Catherine Mount
“Is everybody related?” It’s not uncommon to hear this question from someone who is new to the Royal Oak, Mich., Corps. The answer? No. We’re not all related, but we do have many multigenerational Salvationist families who worship and learn and serve together Sunday morning and throughout the week. The model of families connecting through faith and worshipping together attracts new people and adds a vibrant thread of joy and hope to our fellowship.
One of our corps’ greatest attributes is families are welcome, and there is a place for them at the table. This means we offer childcare for most events, quality youth and adult programming throughout the week, worship and social events for adults and kids throughout the year, and parent resources. Proverbs 22:6 (MSG) says: “Point your kids in the right direction—when they’re old they won’t be lost.” Whether someone is a fourth-generation Salvationist or a brand new visitor, we want to point them in the right direction and help equip them to follow Jesus and connect to the Body of Christ.
Four of the newest soldiers to our congregation have been single parents or grandparents. We recognize their heartfelt need for the Body of Christ and, in turn, the church’s need of their presence and perspective. More than ever, we recognize our call as the Body of Christ is to be a family. This is true for single-parent homes, senior citizens, traditional families and children who show up with no adults. This means we show up for each other, we encourage one another, and we model Christian living for the glory of God.
Last month one of our older saints was promoted to Glory. Afterward, it was precious to watch a 10-year-old boy who was unrelated hug the widow and share his condolences. He knew how to show compassion because he had seen someone else model compassion.
The Church is one of the last places in our culture where young and old—and everyone in between—still gather. The common denominator in our gathering is our love for Jesus and one another.
Leading our families to be healthy church members is a part of their discipleship. By attending, by serving and by connecting with the Body of Christ we model our faith, and something beautiful happens: the next generation learns church works, and everyone else is reminded God is faithful.