The “Whys” of Intergenerational Ministries & The Basics/Interactive Workshop-“Catch the Vision” for the New River District-Coming Soon!

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“The best way to be formed in Christ is to sit among the elders, listen to their stories, break bread with them, and drink from the same cup, observing how these earlier generations of saints ran the race, fought the fight, and survived in grace.”

                        (James Frazier, in Across the Generations:  Incorporating All Ages in Ministry)

A basic definition of Intergenerational Ministry describes the process involved.  Allen and Ross said that “Intergenerational Ministry occurs when a congregation intentionally brings the generations together in mutual serving, sharing,or learning within the core activities of the church in order to live out being the body of Christ to each other and the greater community.”  James White defines intergenerational religious experiences as “two or more different age groups of people in a religious community together learning/growing/living in faith through in-common experiences, parallel learning, on contributive-occasions, and interactive sharing.”  It is a process of growing faith communities with God’s guidance and prayer as we implement essential strategies along the way.

The Biblical background is apparent.  There seems to be a clear intergenerational thread running throughout Deuteronomy.  Seibel refers to the Old Testament passage from Deuteronomy 6:4-9 known as the Shema after the first Hebrew word of verse 4.  Verses 4-9 outline the duty of the Israel’s religion.  It is talking about upholding the essentials of teaching faith to their children and emphasizes that it should be said “again and again”.  This speaks to all the people of Israel as well as the parents and grandparents of the children.  Clearly stated, there is an importance of teaching and reaching all generations by all the generations.

The concept of intergenerational faith formation is simple, yet powerful.  It is basically becoming a way of life within some congregations and the homes.  Three tips are listed in the recently released book Engage All Generations (2021), edited by Cory Seibel and they are essential.  The first one is about being intentional and providing opportunities to communicate the need for giving hands-on examples of how to use resources that you already have in your hands to grow faith.  The second one is making sure you articulate the expectations as well as the “why” of this ministry to all in your congregations.  Also, of extreme importance, is planning for accountability as a way to follow-up about our faith lives and this can become encouraging to all ages.  When we, as leaders share a story of success as we talk about our faith journey, and our passion for this ministry, then we can demonstrate the importance of this road taken on faith journeys.

As we strive to pass along our faith with children and youth, let’s always remember that they especially need our faith forming life stories on their journey.  They need to see how we fought the good fights and conquered our battles with Christ by our sides.   Of equal importance is that the adults need to realize, even when the younger ones become strong believers in the Body of Christ as they grow older, we must let go, but continue to run beside them for support throughout their life journeys.

We are all in this together.  As we consider our next right steps for congregations, we should look at opportunities for engaging our community of believers in sharing faith together through intergenerational relationships.  We have the potential, without creating new programs to develop spaces in our churches  where we are all connected on our journey.

If you would like to explore the possibilities for developing Intergenerational Ministries (Including Messy Church) and Intergenerational Teams within your church, please contact me, [email protected]  I would love to share more information in the New River District area through an interactive workshop filled with strategies and hands-on ideas from the InterGenerate World Conference I attended in May, 2021 and from past experiences with worship and program design.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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