In families, especially at times when family members worked in family businesses or on farms, as the older children grew, they received increased responsibilities. The new duties were not just related to the business, but to the younger children. They taught them the way to live and work.
Many congregations are so relationship resistant that they are more like orphanages than families. Someone who moves to town and joins a congregation is received like a distant cousin whose parents died and left them needing a place to stay – they aren’t really close family, but we have to put up with them as long as they stay.
God, however, likes to set the solitary in families (Psalm 68:4-6). He sees each believer as a son or daughter, born of His Holy Spirit. I believe that He expects each of us to take some responsibility for the brothers and sisters who are younger than us in Him. We don’t have to have a degree in anything to be a big brother or an older sister to some who need that type of influence.
We all need it, and we all are capable of it if we are bearing the fruit of the Spirit. Encouragement, correction, teaching regarding a certain ministry or a certain discipline, such as prayer or reading and meditation on Scripture – these are powerful influences that we can offer those with less time or experience in being believers.
The more we mature in character and service, the more we are likely to be drawn to a level of service and sacrifice that resembles parenting. Even a 5 year old can be a good influence on the life of a 3 year old, though. Invest in someone!