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8 Three “F’s:” Family – Friends – Fun

Yes that’s right, our 2 weeks in Tulsa and Arkansas were chocked full of family, friends, fun and more. The more was: attending a mission’s conference and Kelly preaching at a couple of churches. I got this great shot of our little munchkin, Ava, and I’d like to introduce her to you.


Ava is our youngest granddaughter and she is 15 months old. Of course she captured our hearts.


Little Ava went to Grandpa right away, so I had to wait my turn. This is Kelly with Ava and Katie. Katie is our talented soccer player.


I was patient and finally got my chance with Ava.


This is Ava’s dad and mom (Gale & Tamecca).


Here is Katie again with her dad.


Emily is granddaughter number three. She is becoming quite the young lady. Grandma got to help her with her homework.


Gale and Tamecca have a blended family and it never gets boring around their house. Emily is helping Kira color “inside the lines” and Katie is helping Kira’s brother, Aden.


Here’s a great shot of Tamecca’s 2 boys; Gavin and Aden, and Gale’s 2 girls, Emily and Katie.


If we weren’t spending time at Gale & Tamecca’s, we were at Erin & Lisa’s house. Here are 3 generations of McClelland’s; Erin, Kelly and Killian. When I said “Smile please.” this was the response I got.


This photo opportunity was too good to ignore. Erin & Lisa are animal lovers and I think their animals…love Kelly. Jack, the Labrador, is patiently waiting his turn.


Did I mention “Friends” in my subject line? This is our friend Pat. She made our whole trip possible by inviting us stay in her home while we were in Tulsa. We enjoyed catching up on each others family news and had a great time.


We also met up with Steve and Margie who are friends we’ve known since Bible school. Was that really 20 some years ago?


I did mention that Kelly preached at a couple of churches. Here he is looking up a Bible verse at our sending church, Word of Life, in Sand Springs, OK. Pastor Emigh was in Poland and Romania on a missions trip, so Kelly filled in for him for this Wednesday night service.


This was a special treat for us, Erin and Lisa came to hear Kelly preach and willingly sat on the front row with me.


When Kelly finished preaching, Erin, Lisa and our friend Pat went with us for a dessert treat at a local restaurant. It was a great way to end the evening.


Our other preaching opportunity was at another one of our supporting churches in Russellville, Arkansas. Before Kelly began his sermon, the two of us shared about our ministry work with PIONEERS.


After sharing, I sat down and Kelly shared from the Word of God.


We always have a good time of fellowship at Russellville Christian Center and they’ve been a great encouragement to us over the years.


After the service, we had dinner with Pastor Tom and his wife Bonnie, and then headed back to Fort Smith to finish off at the missions conference we were attending.


That pretty much covers the way our trip went (including the stay in Branson with our grandson mentioned in an earlier post). So, I thought I’d end this post with this last great shot of Ava…what a munchkin.


Have you ever wished you could understand your kids better, or maybe your grandkids? Then this book’s for you. It’s another great book that I’m reading and it ties in to the previous book I’ve mentioned on this blog, “Who Stole My Church”. This one is calledOne Church 4 Generationsby Gary L. McIntosh. It helps you understand each generation, (your parents, kids, yourself— or maybe your boss, co-worker, employee or neighbor), and what historical & social events shaped them.

Bridger Generation (born between 1984-2002)

Here’s a great excerpt from the book (pp178) that takes a look at the Bridgers, “a generation that is technically skilled, community-minded, and open to change to a greater extent than any previous generation. In 2002 the oldest of the Bridger generation was just entering college.” This may make you feel old… or older…quote:

  • Bridgers have no meaningful recollection of the Reagan era and probably do not know he was ever shot.
  • Bridgers were less than 12 yrs old when the Soviet Union broke apart, and they do not remember the Cold War.
  • Bridgers think bottle caps have always been screw-ff and plastic.
  • Bridgers are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up.
  • Bridgers have never feared a nuclear war.
  • Bridgers do not understand the expression, “You sound like a broken record.”
  • Bridgers have never owned a record player.
  • Bridgers have never seen a black-and-white television or one with only 13 channels.
  • Bridgers have never known anything but in-line roller skates.
  • Bridgers have seen only Jay Leno as the host of the Tonight Show.
  • Bridgers never saw Larry Bird or Magic Johnson play basketball.
  • Bridgers think of the Vietnam War as history similar to the Civil War, WWI & WWII.
  • Bridgers have never heard “Where’s the beef?” or “I’d walk a mile for a Camel” or “De plane, de plane.”
  • Bridgers do not have a clue how to use a typewriter.
  • Bridgers think MTV has always existed.
  • Bridgers do not care who J.R. is or who shot him.
  • Bridgers have no idea who Mork was or where he came from.
  • Bridgers do not know that Americans were ever held hostage in Iran.
  • Bridgers have always cooked popcorn in a microwave.
  • Bridgers do not remember Atari, Pong, or Pac Man.
  • Bridgers have always had VCRs, cable, answering machines, and CDs.

Five of my 6 grandkids are Bridgers (or, some other names used for this age group are Generation Y, Millennials, or Mosaics). I’m from the Boomer generation, my parents are the Builders generation, and my kids are the Busters generation.


Am I serious? Is my church missing? No, I’m talking about a GREAT book that I just finished reading. It struck a chord with me because it deals with an issue that has crept into many of our beloved congregations today. It could be a growing sentiment in your church.

Is there a chance you are hearing similar comments from your congregation, from those who are older, 50’s and up, whose life is closely tied into church? Are they struggling with relinquishing control and influence to: “change” and the “younger generation”?

Who Stole My Church is authored by a talented writer and pastor of 47+ yrs, Gordon MacDonald. It’s a captivating narrative that places the reader right in the middle of these church people’s lives. Even though they are fictional characters, you could very well find each one of them sitting in your church, only their name would be different. I thought this comment from MacDonald was very revealing about what he was about to share: “The specific reason for this meeting came out of an organizational meltdown that our membership had experienced in a congregational business meeting the week before…”

Tipping Point

Did he say “organizational meltdown”? He was describing what one would call a “tipping point” for this fictional church. They were on the brink of change or no change. (If you are from the two older generations you have probably heard similar comments, or maybe uttered them yourself, under your breath of course.) What are some of the comments this pastor was hearing? “The music is too loud and I miss singing the old hymns.” “Can’t we sing those songs without having to stand all the time?” “Why don’t more young people join the choir?” And for some churches, “I miss the choir, now all we have is a ‘praise band’ with 5 people standing up front. We can’t sing harmony to these new songs, and I wish we would go back to using the organ.”

Reinventing Church

We’ve all witnessed these changes to some degree over the past 10-20 years and made adjustments (we thought). Some we’ve liked, others were more difficult. Changes like; not wearing a suit and tie, replacement of pews with individual chairs, abandoning the midweek prayer service, placing coffee kiosks in the church lobby, or bulletins replaced with overhead power-points. Here’s a big one, changing the name of the church. But honestly, are these the things that make a church, …a church?

4 Generations:

The book is not just for the builders and boomers. All generations can grasp a better understanding of each other as we; ‘find a way to move gracefully into the 21st century.’ If not, as MacDonald says: “Any church that has not turned its face toward the younger generation will simply cease to exist. We’re not talking decades—we’re talking just a few years.”

Anyway, I couldn’t put the book down. And last Sunday, we gave a copy of the book to our pastor and are recommending it to other pastors. We’ve seen give and take among the generations within our church, and that is very encouraging. Not that we’ve got it all figured out, but walking in love and submission is a major part of seeing God’s hand at work in His body.

If you’re wondering, here are the categories for the 4 generations: Builders (born before 1946), Boomers (1946-1964), Busters (1965-1983), & Bridgers (1984-2002) sometimes called Mosaics. Give the book a try, and happy reading. (Oh yeah, next time you see one of those bridgers at church with a tattoo and a couple of piercings in their eyebrow…give ’em a hug! They could be your somebody’s grandchild, yours maybe?)

A great follow up to this book is “One Church Four Generations” Understanding and reaching all ages in your church, by Gary L. McIntosh.