Q&A with David Meggers

Q&A with David Meggers


David Meggers

Associate pastor at Concordia Lutheran Church

David is the unit executive for adult and older adult ministries at Concordia Lutheran Church in Kirkwood, Missouri. Previously, he has been a teacher, athletic coach and church planter, and he spent 24 years serving and pastoring at Christ the Rock Lutheran Church in Southeast Rockford, Illinois. He holds a BS in Education from Concordia University St. Paul and an MDiv and STM from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.

Q: More than any other category, couple households (primarily Boomers and Elders) have a solitary lifestyle where spouses somewhat orbit each other. What factors do you think might contribute to that? What might these couples gain or lose in these years when they are so reliant on one another? 01

We know Boomers are living longer and experiencing better health and mobility. Yet many are choosing early retirement, and often there is not a plan for post-retirement. Cut loose from the work community, the Boomer has lost a long-cultivated community, which is perhaps now reduced to only their spouse—who may or may not be ready for this much spousal time. Since Boomers are less likely to be “joiners,” there is a relationship void. These tendencies lead me to believe that more of the “orbit” is due to their pre-retirement choices rather than their circumstances.

There may be an opportunity to gain a greater appreciation for community. There might also be a willingness to forego the solitary life and seek to engage in church, organizations and volunteer efforts. Churches have long been strong organizationally, but not always relationally. Churches that elevate the relational aspects of the Christian faith may stand a good chance of gaining an audience with the Boomer.

Q: What is the power of cross-generational relationships or multi-generational households when it comes to spiritual growth? Do you see older Christians and grandparents growing aware of a role in leaving a faith legacy? 02

Part of the power in the grandparent relationship comes from the space afforded by the generational distance. Mom or Dad typically have to deal with the almost constant pressures, needs and expectations of parenting, giving them little space for the kinds of conversations and experiences grandparents can offer. Grandparents have garnered wisdom—another way of saying they have learned from their own mistakes and successes as parents. They have the margin to act rather than react. Their interactions are less emotionally laden. The grandkids can sense their more laidback attitude compared to their parents, who are the primary disciplinarians.

I think older Christians do exhibit a growing awareness of having a role in leaving a faith legacy. This observation is borne out by conversations in which these adults lament their perceived failure in passing on the faith to their own children and now see the opportunity and necessity of leaving a faith legacy with their grandchildren. Older Christians are also aware of the increased societal pressures on the family and the resultant challenges to faith life in families. They recognize that they can be a helping hand in the faith formation of their grandchildren and, to some extent, have a second chance to influence the faith development of their adult children. This helping hand will best be received if it is not heavy, but rather a gentle, loving, receiving, giving and kind hand. I also see this faith legacy awareness exhibit itself in the volunteerism of older adults regarding the educational ministries of our church.


Q: Beyond our own families or households, what is our responsibility to one another, old and young, as church members? How can ministries speak to this and foster opportunities to connect different age groups and allow them to learn from each other? 03

The Church is the body of Christ. All the parts of the body are different. Not only do its members have different gifts, they are experiencing different seasons of life. The church has a responsibility to speak to this holistic reality. We can be more responsible to one another by appreciating one another as fellow baptized children of God, rather than being so delineated by our age categories. Younger generations can learn to appreciate older generations for their wisdom and experience, if that wisdom and experience is not lorded over the younger generations. Older generations can be more accepting and encouraging to younger generations by giving them the space they need to grow in their faith and respecting their articulation of that faith.

Special Sundays could emphasize the intergenerational nature of the church. The disparaging attitudes and remarks of ageism and youthism need to be called out as offensive to one another and to God. Perhaps a greater emphasis on “honoring father and mother” and “parents not provoking children” need to be examined through the lens of intergenerational ministry. Rather than compartmentalizing ministries by the metric of age, other metrics such as interests, personality types, even geography (neighborhoods) might be good avenues to allow the generations to work with each other, experience one another and learn from each other.


Q: What would your advice be for parents of grown children who, often because of economic circumstances, are sharing their space again? How can they stay present and establish healthy and spiritual routines with one another, even if they regard this as a temporary arrangement? 04

Boundaries would seem to be a huge topic of conversation. When the children are younger, there are curfews, house rules, perhaps even chores. Parental expectations will need to be examined in these areas. Is the parent still to be the provider of food and shelter? Or will there be an expectation (stated and agreed upon) that the young adult will be a contributor to housing expenses, food expenses or duties around the house? In addition, the conversation needs to include how to treat one another’s guests, or the expectations of guests in general. Key to all of this is the cultivation of conversation, and this needs to begin very early in life so that young adult and parent can more meaningfully have these often emotion-laden conversations with more thoughtfulness. Hopefully these households will capitalize on the earlier cultivation of faith in the family in such a way that they grow with one another in their faith. Parent-child retreats and Bible studies might be good to develop. In addition, the opportunities for families to serve together should produce fruit.


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