Rev. Melissa Cooper
Associate, Vibrant Faith
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?
The idea that churches all over the country are struggling, looking at church growth models and new flashy curricula and megachurch models trying to emulate them in order to “do church better,” when, in reality, they have everything they need for discipleship already within their walls and throughout their community. I love showing churches that while claiming an intergenerational culture in your church is not an easy shift, it is a simple one. It’s hard because most often, it’s changing people rather than programs, choosing culture rather than curricula.
If I can add a second thing that keeps me up at night, it’s that the majority of people who are driving intergenerational ministry are children’s and youth ministers. Senior and lead pastors must be primary drivers of this vision, because it’s not about children and youth; it’s about all of us! I love working with children’s and youth leaders, but I love taking on the challenge of sharing this vision with senior leadership even more.
What gets you up in the morning?
(My cat, usually.) Ministry wise, though, it’s people who think and dream big and want to enact those big dreams! Intergenerational culture building is more than a new program; it doesn’t happen without a vision beyond one piece or part of the church.
And I love hearing success stories! I recently spoke with a pastor for whom I did a workshop a year ago, and as a result of his passion and enthusiasm and understanding the importance of intergenerational culture in his church, their whole church has transformed the way it does worship and programming. The staff and congregation alike have embraced it as well, all because he first cast that vision, and took the right steps to bring people along with him. Big picture, big vision thinking, followed by big actions together!
Rev. Melissa Cooper is an Associate with Vibrant Faith, providing ministry coaching and consulting focused on intergenerational ministry and cross-generational communication. She is ordained in the United Methodist Church and has served for over a decade in camp and retreat ministry and youth ministry. You can connect with her at www.revmelissacooper.com or on Facebook at Rev. Melissa Cooper.
Other posts from GenOn Connect – March/April 2018