In the previous article, we explored what intergenerational ministry is and why it is important for our churches. But there are always some questions that follow:
How can intergenerational ministry be incorporated into a traditional church structure?
What are some practical ways that we can connect generations in our church especially if the structures that currently exist are actually impediments to this time of intergenerational connectivity?
Are there some ideas or resources we could start exploring?
Here are a few simple practices that can help aid churches in bridging the “generational gap” by offer space for relationships to begin to flourish.
Intergenerational Intercessory Prayer
The Pray For Me Campaign is a program for local churches that link children and youth in the church with prayer companions from older generations in an intercessory relationship. Each child/youth has three prayer partners who promise to pray for them for an academic year and they, in turn, pray for their prayer partners.
The result of this has shown to be increased relationships not just between the prayer partners and child/youth but across the entire church and between families.
Kid’s “Worship” Team
Giving children and youth a role to play in the church is vital to their emotional health and allows the larger church community to know them and their name. Since worship encompasses much more than just singing, consider creating a team of children and youth who can worship through hospitality (greeting, handing out bulletins, hold doors), through prayer (praying for the congregation, going to the altar to pray for others), and through giving (collecting the offering, praying over the financial gifts).
Some simple training in appropriate behavior and worship can be offered; the blessing to the congregation will be tremendous.
Community Bulletin Board
Since the church is not a building but the people in it, providing ways for people to connect outside the building is crucial. Consider a community bulletin board where youth sports schedules, ballet recitals, school programs and the like can be posted so the congregation can show up and cheer on their youngest members.
Consider hosting events to celebrate retirements, graduations, publications, and anniversaries that are open to the entire church. Create space for connections to be made that don’t naturally happen in a pew.
If you’d like to continue explore some practical ways to begin making space for intergenerational worship experiences, click here.
Looking for practical ideas on how to (painlessly) connect the generations in your church? Click here.
Want to dig into what the Bible has to say about connecting generations in discipleship, community and worship? Here are a few links to check out:
Intergenerational Ministry: Beyond the Rhetoric (Fuller Youth Institute)
About the Author
Christina Embree is wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and church planter/NextGen pastor at Plowshares BIC. She also serves as the Minister of Generational Discipleship with the Great Lakes Conference of the Brethren in Christ.
With years of experience in family ministry and children’s ministry, she is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. She recently graduated with a Masters of Arts in Ministry focusing on Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family, ChurchLeaders.com, and Seedbed