GenOn Ministries defines intergenerational ministry as nurturing Christ-centered community by bringing together two or more generations in planned and purposeful settings, where all are mutually invested.
Intergenerational ministry is more than faith formation curriculum. It is about infusing the whole church with an ethos—the characteristic spirit of the community guided by its beliefs or ideas. Eventually, this intergenerational spirit impacts everyone and everything.
Where to begin? GenOn has identified four ministry areas for the church: worship, study, service, and fellowship. We suggest using our free Snapshot tool with a team to evaluate and discuss all ministry areas, choosing one area to start to be more intentionally intergenerational. Details are in Snapshot and we’d love to guide you along the process with our training and workshops.
Today, we’ll highlight the ministry area of worship, specifically worship leadership. The goal is for the church to seek to engage more generations to lead worship using a variety of worship arts. The vitality of congregational worship is enhanced and influenced through the gifts of a diversity of people across generations. What additional generations can be included in your worship leadership? This is more than about who is sitting in the sanctuary. Where can two or more generations lead worship together more often?
When we invite and include more generations in worship leadership, we increase the mutual investment in the offering of worship—key in forming intergenerational community. Learning and practicing worship leadership nurtures, encourages, prepares, and equips all people to meet and praise God as active participants in the congregational worship experience.
As a child, I sang in the church choir. It was a small church and there were no separate age-segregated choirs, just the church choir. I wore a robe and carried a notebook just like the grownups because I was an alto and a member of the choir, just like the others. I belonged. I remember that feeling of inclusion and the responsibility that went with it.
Based on our definition of intergenerational ministry, what could you modify that you’re already doing in worship leadership to include more generations? What COVID-restrictions need to be taken into consideration, possibly focusing on small (or same-household) groups for now?
Some ideas to get you started
- Responsive liturgical reading with parent-child sharing leader voices
- Drumming circle around the sanctuary with youth and older adults for a call to worship
- Speakers’ choir with a broad range of ages for scripture reading
- Worship visuals such as banners, table displays, bulletin covers, slides, or videos
- Prayers of thanksgiving written by middle schoolers and prayed by young adults (or vice-versa)
- An intergenerational trio introducing a new hymn to the congregation
- Bell or chime choir of youth and adults
- Paired grandparent-grandchild as greeters, ushers, or carriers of the elements
- Music combo of beginner and experienced stringed instrument players for a benediction response
- Freeze Frame scripture tableaux with adults of a wide range of ages
Some helpful GenOn resources
- Worship Arts Resources
- Worship Arts Speak Out
- Worship Arts Out of Many, One
- Ideas for Worship Arts in Virtual Settings
- Children of God Songbook
Especially for Advent and Christmas
- Lighting of the Advent candles liturgy read by several generations
- Lessons and carols service including an age-range of readers and song leaders
- Advent prayer stations outside with multiple generations as station hosts
- Outdoor live nativity, intentional about span of ages in roles or as hosts
- Worship Arts Drama 1 includes “The Christmas Story” short drama
Intergenerational ministry starts with the next step. Pay attention to the definition and seek small wins to move your congregation forward. Want to talk about it? We’re available! Call (877) 937-2572 or email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Connecting is a specialty of ours.
Read more about Intergenerational Worship Leadership.
Check out the 6-step path for becoming intentionally intergenerational.
More IG Mix Nov-Dec 2021 articles
- FAQs for the NEW Intergenerational Ministry Starter Bundle
- GenOn Youth Summit 2022 Is On!
- Seminary Corner: Ritual Revolution
- Two Questions: Andrew Root
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