Sparkhouse and Augsburg Fortress
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 me up at night?
I care deeply about the ways that the church supports early childhood development. These first years matter so much in developing healthy brains and healthy bodies. I see young children facing an array of stressors, from inadequate nutrition to unsafe housing to caregivers who are in the habit of being only partially present because of the complex demands on their time and attention. Young children need adults (and older kids) who delight in them, who take the time to get to know them, and who accompany them through important learning experiences. I believe there are multiple forces in our current culture that prevent this from happening. But church can play a vital role!
What gets me up in the morning?
The church can position itself as playing a vital role in these uncertain times. We can provide a rich, diverse, multigenerational context that supports healthy childhood development and family connections. Through living out our call to ministry, we can provide young children and their families with lively music, engaging visual arts, positive intergenerational interactions, healthy nutrition, valuable parental support, and opportunities for play. I lean heavily on the Search Institute’s Developmental Assets for young children, elementary-age kids, and youth to show all the ways that churches can support young people and families. There is no other institution like it in modern life. Let us claim our role as a primary shaper of early childhood development!
Dawn Rundman holds a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology and develops faith formation curriculum for Sparkhouse and Augsburg Fortress. She lives in the Twin Cities of Minnesota with her prom date/husband, Jonathan, and their two kids. Her book is Little Steps, Big Faith: How the Science of Early Childhood Development Can Help You Grow Your Child’s Faith.