Wednesday, October 21, 2015

“We’re Better Together” — Intentional intergeneration

By Jeff Swanger

“One generation commends your works to another; 
they tell of your mighty acts.” — Psalm 145:4

Many times we hear the expression, "we're better together". The phrase can have great meaning when connected to Intentional Intergenerational church growth.

For the first time in the history of the church there is the opportunity to receive and minister to six generations. All six generations have gifts and graces to share with each and others within and outside the Christian family.

Intentional Intergeneration is not something new, the fact is it has deep roots in our Jewish and Christian history. In Deuteronomy 6:1-9 Moses commanded the parents and grandparents to recite to their children about the statues and ordinances so their children would know them and observe them diligently. Also, from the first century onward, Christian faith communities have been intergenerational communities. Paul told Timothy to care for both older and younger men and women(Timothy 5:1-3).

The church as Christ's spiritual family has a tremendous opportunity to intentionally bring six generations together in a healthy environment whereby children can hear the stories of the past from the older folks of the church family, the younger generation can share not only their generational views but the "how to" of technology (iPAD, Computer, newer telephones, etc). Together all generations can work and learn together as well reach out in Christian love to the least, lost, and lowly.

Intentionally becoming intergenerational and bringing generations together within the church brings with it benefits and blessings:
  • A diverse congregation appears welcoming to all types of people.
  • Teaches us to care for one another.
  • Allows us to pass on traditions of the faith.
  • Allows greater faith in all generations.
  • Promotes intergenerational understanding.
  • Reclaims God's intent for faith to be shared in community and across generations.
  • Creates special relationships between youth and adults.


The question remains is, how do we as a church family intentionally reach in and outward to become an Intentional Intergenerational Church? The following suggestions open the door to become an Intentional Intergenerational Church.
  1. Form an "Intergenerational Task Force" made up from a representative from each generation.
  2. Identify intergenerational activities that could generate intergeneration growth or improvement.
  3. Integrate intergenerational programming into the age-group plan and calendar.
  4. Develop mentoring relationships between youth and adults (service involvement, Confirmation mentors).
  5. Intergenerationalize councils and/or committees.


A "healthy church" is one that intentionally reaching out to all generations knowing that we are indeed "Better Together" in sharing our faith- fulfilling the great commandment.

References:  
Books:
Manconi Peter , THE INTERGENERATIONAL CHURCH, Mt. Sage
Roberto Robert, OUR FUTURE IS INTERGENERATIONAL, Christian Education Journal, 2012
Lancaster Lynn and Stillman David, WHEN GENERATIONS COLLIDE, Collins Business.

Internet Publications:
www.lifelongfaith.com   Becoming Intentionally Intergenerational
www.amyhanson.org/category/intergenerational-ministry/
www.21stcenturyfaithformation.com/...our future is intergenerational

www.cune.edu/resources/Being an Intergenerational Congregation

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please follow our Guidelines for Dialogue (see tab at the top of the page) when leaving a comment. All comments are moderated. You can also email a Letter to the Editor to jwolgemuth@susumc.org