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The Sandwich Generation and Sunday School/Small Groups

Posted: 1/14/20 at 4:30pm. Post by Tony Brooks.

“Very truly I tell you, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” John 21:18 NIV

I have been a part of the sandwich generation for the past 30 years. What is the sandwich generation? You can read an article about it here.

My wife and I experienced our fathers in hospitals in 1991 while caring for our first child, Tara. My father was in Birmingham, AL, while her father was in Jacksonville, NC. Her father died in July and my father died in September. I was the full-time Associate Pastor at FBC Whiteville. We were bouncing back and forth. Our son, Joseph, was born on July 2 the next year. Her mom came to live with us during that time.

Years later her mom would live with us again while we were in Rome, GA. She had Alzheimer’s. Our children were in high school. My mom was at home but struggled after my dad died. We were once again caring for parents and children.   

For the last three years, we have been going back and forth to Alabama to care for my mom, who had dementia/Alzheimer’s. She passed away on January 2. All the while, we both had jobs/ministry positions and were helping children with student loans, weddings, and more.  

Based on statistics, I know we are not alone! I believe this is the generation most neglected by the church. Why, you ask? Most churches are focused on reaching younger families with children. Here are some thoughts on how to help:

If your parent or spouse served in the military during an active war, you have benefits for care. Click here to read more about them.

Set up a page in your church on Facebook for people to encourage and comment. Here is one I set up during my mom’s care. Feel free to share.

Start a class or small group for the sandwich generation. No one should go through the stress alone. Perhaps they can’t always be there, but they can set up care groups.

Set a special worship service for this generation to share testimonies. The older and younger generation can learn from their frailties and wisdom.

Be willing to have volunteers come and help. Some adults miss church, Sunday School, or special events because they need to be with their parents. Have volunteers sit with them.

Know your county and resources. Floyd County in Rome, GA, provided a day care for senior adults at low costs. My mother-in-law was picked up three days a week, and lunch/activities were provided.

We will all face a time when someone will dress us and lead us. What is the church doing to help?

Brooks-TonyTony Brooks is BGAV’s Sunday School/Discipleship Specialist and Field Strategist for the Southside Region. You may email him at tony.brooks@bgav.org. Follow Tony on Twitter: @TonyBrooks7