Why You Need Age-Gap Friendships

In our culture today, people are often segregated by age. From preschool to college (and even beyond), we are divided into neat little boxes according to how old we are. Within those boxes, we learn, socialize, and play. Even our church in Prince Albert reflects this trend. Whether it’s Sunday School or seniors’ group, people are compartmentalized by age. 

But, if we stepped back in time, to a first-century Christian church, we would notice that age segregation was conspicuously missing. We’d watch the middle-aged Paul mentoring a young pastor named Timothy. We’d see a girl named Rhoda praying with older Christians. And we’d hear an experienced ministry couple, Aquila and Priscilla, mentoring a passionate young speaker named Apollos.

Believers of all ages would gather to eat, pray, and worship together. Age-gap friendships—between young, old, and middle-aged people—flourished in the early Church. Since Jesus had already broken down the barriers of male and female, Greek and Jew, slave and freeman, age wouldn’t divide them either. 

Here are three reasons why you and I need age-gap friendships.


1) To break through cultural bias

Unfortunately, much of our culture has an underlying bias against older people. Instead of respecting the people who have built cities and raised babies and preserved our freedoms, our culture thinks less of older people. We don’t seek their advice or ask for their help. Instead, we choose friends our own age instead of older friends. But this attitude is shallow and unbiblical. 

Throughout God’s Word, we are instructed to respect the older generation—especially those who have served God for a lifetime. We should value their opinion and intentionally develop friendships with older (and wiser) people. Often, older Christians are some of the best friends you can have. They have a depth of character and wisdom that come from a lifetime of walking with God.

We can help people in our prison ministries partly because of the faithful men and women of God who’ve gone before us. They’ve mentored us, encouraged us, and set a godly example for us.


2) To learn from people

Each believer, whether old or young, can teach us something. Children can show us what joy, faith, and simple trust look like. Youth can remind us of the dreams we’ve forgotten about and inspire us to follow God wholeheartedly. Parents can model kindness, patience, and sacrifice. And seniors can teach us about faith, relationships, and courage.

The beauty of age-gap friendships is that it helps us see what we’re missing. People our own age are likely to have the same strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots as us. But when you look at a six-year-old saying, “Catch me, Daddy,” you realize that you need to trust God like she trusts her daddy. When you see hands gnarled with arthritis that still sweep floors and knit socks and fold in prayer, you learn something about faithfulness. We can learn much from age-gap friends.


3) To gain the wisdom of experience

Remember the story of King Rehoboam? When he came to power, young Rehoboam had to make a critical choice. Instead of listening to his father’s advisers, the older men, he followed the advice of his young friends. And his wrong choice ripped the fabric of Israel from east to west. 

Rehoboam was young and impetuous, and he made a foolish choice. His story could have turned out differently if he had chosen older friends and listened to them. Often, we can learn far more from older Christians than younger ones because of their experience. They’ve been walking with God for decades. In our prison ministries, we believe it’s important to have older, mature Christians as friends. That way, we can be mentored and encouraged by them. 

When you think about your current friendships, do you have any age-gap friends? Do you have older friends you can learn from? What about younger friends you can encourage? Just like the early Christians, we have a lot to gain from age-gap friendships. Don’t miss out on some of the best friends you could have just because they’re not your age. 


Are you searching? Jesus has the answers for addictions and stubborn habits. For more information, send the Crossmans a private message here on Facebook or come to a church service at Prince Albert Baptist Church. Take the first step in a walk of freedom!

For more information, call (306) 940-9554 or email anchorofhopeheb@gmail.com