Generational sharing nurtures lifelong faith
Research shows that lifelong faith formation thrives when two or more generations are entwined in genuine connections. St Mark's is undertaking a Grow Journey to help us learn how to intentionally nurture an inter-generational church family.
During a recent service, instead of a "children's address" Pastor Joel asked all the little people to find someone who was over 60 to go and ask them some set questions. Faces, both young and not-so-young, lit up. As children giggled and coyly approached their elders, and the older folk delighted in sharing stories of their youth, the impact was obvious. It was more than just a bit of fun. It was a spark to get a fire going.
Intentionally connecting different generations can have a significant impact on our faith formation.
We were reminded of the beautiful passage in Psalm 145: 4-5 "One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts. They speak of the glorious splendour of your majesty - and I will mediate on your wonderful works."
Scripture is full of examples of how faith was passed from one generation to the next and we can continue to share God's story across the generations.
St Mark's is part of a cluster of local Lutheran churches who are undertaking a Grow Ministries coaching program. Grow Coaching is an interactive process that helps individuals, ministry teams and congregations to practise vibrant faith in a changing world. Grow Ministries (an arm of LCA) is partnering with us over a two-year program to help us re-think child, youth and family ministry in the 21st century using 10 guiding principles.
Our first cluster training was held in October 2019 where members from Chinchilla and Dalby learnt more about what it means to move from a “silo” ministry to intergenerational ministry and we explored the possibilities of how we create genuine connections across generations. We were invited to "Rethink" the way we approach our church life and rather than separating child and youth, instead embrace a "whole faith community". We explored the guiding principles of the Grow journey and how they aligned with our congregations Guiding Principles.
Our second cluster meeting in February 2020 focused on what intergenerational really means, and understanding the differences between generations.
We were challenged by an article entitled "Can a congregation imagine 'something new'? by Karen Gieseke which sparked conversation about how we can rethink our traditional approaches to Sunday School and Confirmation and allow ourselves the freedom to imagine "something else". As Gieseke writes "The freedom to imagine something else resonates throughout God's story, beginning with Creation and moving God's people into the innovations of the 21st century."
Intergenerational ministry is not a new program or special bible study group, it's a culture and experience where relationships are cultivated and faith is supported.
Learn more about St Mark's Grow Coaching journey here>>