In each edition of GenOn Connect, we will ask one member of the GenOn Ministries Advisory Council the same two questions about intergenerational ministry: “What keeps you up at night?” and “What gets you up in the morning?”
What keeps you up at night?
We know that intergenerational relationships and community life are essential for nurturing and sustaining a life of Christian faith and discipleship—in the young and in the old. Research is now providing evidence of the enduring importance of intergenerational experiences for the formation of faith in the younger generations, as well as adults and the whole family.
Congregations engaged in intentional intergenerational faith forming demonstrate that Christian commitment is formed and strengthened as persons develop relationships and actively participate in intergenerational faith communities that teach, model, and live out the community’s beliefs. Intergenerational faith formation is strengthening and creating new relationships among people of all ages, enhancing their sense of belonging in the faith community, and increasing participation in church life.
Why do so many churches and their leaders resist aligning church life and faith formation around the central importance of intergenerational faith forming? I know that change is hard and that many churches are experiencing decline and loss. But, the churches that excel at intergenerational community and faith formation are thriving—faith is flourishing among all ages. Every church should want to make this change!
What gets you up in the morning?
Hope! There is a definite movement toward intentionality in intergenerational faith forming in congregations across all of the Christian traditions. Over the last two decades, congregations have been developing and implementing new models of intergenerational faith formation and learning—bringing all ages and generations together to learn with and from each other, build community, share faith, pray, celebrate, and practice the Christian faith. It is inspiring to see churches embracing an intergenerational approach.
Perseverance! We need to continue to raise awareness, conduct research, create resources, provide training, and offer encouragement to assist all churches in embracing intergenerational approaches and models of church life and faith formation.
The future is intergenerational!
John Roberto is on the leadership team of Vibrant Faith, where he serves as the coordinator of training services. Since the mid 1990s, he has been working with churches to develop lifelong, intergenerational faith formation, conducting research on the impact of intergenerational faith formation and writing articles, books, and program resources on intergenerational faith formation. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Other GenOn Connect Jan-Feb 2019 Articles