Intergenerational faith formation isn’t just about the kids.
Passing on the faith is not always about passing DOWN the faith, sometimes it’s about passing it up. Don’t believe me? Read what my 81 year old friend Bill Gretsch says about his experience with intergenerational faith formation.
“I take pictures at LOGOS. I always look in at the preschool and see the kids playing, sleeping or being comforted. The love given by the leaders is unconditional and a model for living. Glorious!
I eat dinner with the youngest children, and it brings back to me when I helped raise my own family. In being with them I see with fresh eyes my own relationships with my parents and daughters. I can use those insights with the church children and nudge them into loving each other and the Lord in practical ways. We do not have to say it outright, but we live it by caring about each other. Our shared meal each week is good! It is Living in Community.
The interchanges among the kids are so open it is amazing. And sometimes I have to be gently intentional about inclusion or conflict resolution. Big words for LOVE! It is God’s work.
I love the older children. I see myself in them and marvel at the life ahead of them. Sometimes I assist in teaching and am awed at the gifts of the regular teachers to tell of Jesus. It is inspiring and deepens my faith, where sometimes I am too much philosophically or action oriented. I know that these lessons will be with them all their lives and guide them. And me. What a privilege to be there!
The high schoolers are fantastic. I go with them to the GenOn Youth Summit each summer. Here I am the recipient of intentional caring, love, study, growth and working together with the adults, youth, and college students. We share and learn, worship, and have fun together in community. Sometimes I get to pretend to be a “wise old man,” much to their tolerance and I hope insight. My faith is deepened by theirs. They are inspirational. Relationships continue for years. I have no fear when I realize that they are our future. I dare to say that the Lord is pleased. I know that I’m overjoyed.
Being a part of LOGOS has enabled me to share the gifts of Faith, Hope and Love that I have received with people of at least three generations, as you have seen. I am blessed! I have seen people of all ages grow over the years and it is wondrous. I love these people, and through them, the Lord. God is real to me because of them.”
How have you experienced the passing on of the faith (either up or down)? We would love to hear your stories! Here's some more on what intergenerational faith formation means.
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