Affinity Is Not Community

Many thanks to Mollie Ziegler Hemingway for articulating what has long been on my heart and is what I love about the church that I serve.

Churches that intentionally target one generation specifically, without an eye on incorporating them into the larger family, are barking up the wrong tree.  As Mollie puts it, “congregations are families that, by definition, include people of all ages and circumstances.”  That is, affinity is not community.  True community happens when diverse people live together, attempting to love each other authentically.

Here are another couple of gems:

Each of us learns and benefits from caring for the old, the sick, the suffering, and the dying, just as we benefit from the vitality that children, teens, and young adults bring. We all have vastly different experiences in life. By existing together in one community, we all benefit.


It’s unfortunate enough that many churches tend to be populated by people of the same race or socioeconomic group. But to intentionally segregate worship by age makes things worse.

I love my church because people whose lives are mostly behind them freely interact with people whose lives are mostly in front of them.  No, it’s not perfect, but it’s real.

Thanks, Mollie!


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