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It Takes a Whole Church to Nurture Faith

The importance of generational connections

Generational fragmentation is a reality that the church must engage as it navigates the 21st century.  Most recently, postmodernism has fuelled a shift in emphasis from the needs of the community to the primacy of the individual. The developmental needs of the individual are preeminent over the needs of the corporate body. When the needs of the individual are preeminent, generational fragmentation is inevitable.We have isolated the generations within our churches from each other, and from the wisdom of those who have gone before them.

There is an urgent need to claim our unity and discern new paradigms for ministry that will create community, allow for mentoring, and generate fellowship across both the real and fabricated generational lines.

How does the church support the family as a place of spiritual nurture?

Mark DeVries writes in his book Family-Based Youth Ministry:

Almost without  exception, those young people who are growing in their faith as adults were teenagers who fit into one of two categories;

  • they came from families where Christian growth was modelled in at least one of their parents, or
  • they had developed significant connections with an extended family of adults within the church.

 How often they attended youth events (including Sunday School and discipleship groups) was not a good predictor of which teens would, and which would not, grow toward Christian adulthood.

The family is the most important group of people mentioned in the Bible. How does your church help them be places of spiritual nurture?

All of you are standing today in the presence of the LORD your God—your leaders and chief men, your elders and officials, and all the other men of Israel, together with your children and your wives, and the foreigners living in your camps who chop your wood and carry your water. You are standing here in order to enter into a covenant with the LORD your God, a covenant the LORD is making with you this day and sealing with an oath…
Deut 29:10-12

Principles and practical ideas to inspire you as you implement this formational experience into your long term plan …

Principle
We need to ask “How does God desire us to grow and be transformed”, here2stay believes this is through community across the ages. Discipleship is about being intentional, relational and holistic in creating a culture of lifelong formation across the ages.

Why are GENERATIONAL CONNECTIONS so important in the faith formation process?

Here are 3 reasons….
1 We are not meant to live in isolated silos
2 A society breaks down when there is no tolerance for peoples differences
3 Intergenerational households are on the increase

Top 10 reasons why…

  • A sense of history. Kids might reject parents but grandparents/aunties can have a voice at these times.
  • Young people help us look at the future; old people can help us remember to learn from the past.
  • It helps to teach/model to the younger generation, often things they may not see or understand as valuable at the time.
  • Powerful faith formation happens when adults learn from children as well as children learning from adults.
  • Studies show that everyone’s faith grows when we do Intergenerational life across all ages.
  • Children bring joy and laughter to everyone. Older people bring wisdom, experience and encouragement and sometimes it can even go the other way as well.
  • ”Aging well” is an art – it needs to be taught.
  • Heritage and a sense of pride must be passed down it helps us all to know where we have come from.
  • Generations must be together CONSISTENTLY to pass down the experience of faith.
  • Grandparents often have more time to spend with kids and it is different quality time. They bring different perspectives to current attitudes and trends.

Practical ideas – Mentoring across the ages

There is great value in an older person mentoring a younger person intentionally in their faith walk.

1. This can be monthly or 4 times a year.

2. This can be done over breakfast/lunch/dinner.

3. It is important that it is in a public place.

4. Informal – listening and sharing.

5. Formal – Processing through a teaching series.

6. Serving Together: Doing tasks together for a greater cause.

7. Pack boxes for poor children/families.

8. Clean up Days.

9. Fun run/walk for awareness of a need.

10. Adopt a “grandparent”: Create opportunities for meaningful conversations between generations.

11. During a service… “Go and find someone older and ask them A,B,C”.

12. Cooking afternoon where grandparents teach young ones to cook.

13. Men’s shed events where grandparents show young people who to fix things.

14. Knitting nights.

15. Young people visit an elderly person and sit and listen and learn from them or play a game together.

Sharing skills across the ages

Mechanics teach youth about cars.
Older men help new dads with maintenance around the house.
Woman teaching young girls to cook and sow.
Young people teaching elderly about computers.
Accountants teaching newly married to budget.
Teach someone to drive.

Create spaces where the generations can collide

1.Games night.

2.Karoke.

3.Going to the beach.

4.Picnic at a dam.

5.Meals in each other’s homes.

6.Cricket and a BBQ in local park.

7.Boating or hiking.

Intergenerational Weekends/Events

1.Retreating.

2.Church camps.

3.Tent camping with all ages.

Family involvement in all aspects of ministries

It has been said that whatever age is represented on the stage of a Sunday service represents the age the Church values.

1.Ushering.

2.Leading Worship.

3.Praying.

4.Serving Communion.

5.Speaking /Sharing testimony.

6.Messy Church: This is an excellent strategy for connecting the generations. See link

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  1. […] Community: Helping the church to thrive as a growing, intergenerational faith community, whilst supporting the family as a key place of spiritual nurture. Read more […]

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