Pastor, Author, Intergenerate Australia Planning Team Member
What keeps you up at night?
As a leader and someone who is passionate to help all ages grow closer to God, what keeps me up at night is the space the Church of today seems to have found itself in. We have found ourselves consumed by the comfortable, known, and seemingly successful way of “Sunday Age-Segmented" gatherings, which are most often focused around a 40-minute sermon and some professionally presented worship songs. That we call this “Church,” is something that keeps me up at night. Even in this pandemic, we have sought to give all our best energy to re-creating this all online. I wonder if Jesus were here today whether this is where he would spend his energy?
While I value the connection, I am so aware that this doesn’t mean “intimacy.” I lie awake at night and wonder what it is going to take, if even COVID-19 cannot force us to stop and re-think. I listen to leaders all around the world, putting all their energy into how we will slowly re-introduce being back at “Church” again. I don't hear many voices saying maybe God is wanting us to STOP, reflect and consider what a re-set might look like. This is a time like no other, when we could actually do this re-think. To begin again in a simple way.
What would 12 or so people walking together, doing life together across the ages, supporting each other intimately and serving the world around them look like? I don’t know if that would work, but surely it is worth a try. What if those 12 might meet up occasionally (a few times a year) with 50-70 for training and the building up of each other? What if larger networking connections (because we can be connected so easily) of more than 100+ people were a great reference and, once a year, came together to celebrate in a larger gathering to tell the stories of the transformation that God is doing? Surely, we could change the World. (Matthew 28:20).
What gets you up in the morning?
I spring out of bed each morning longing to see transformation and life change in a person’s life. When a person makes a move toward God and others, this is life-giving and it brings life to everyone around them. I feel honored to be called to create environments where people of all ages are challenged to re-think. It is so inspiring to see people get a glimpse of God and all He wants to do in and through those who walk the “narrow road” with Him. This kind of Hope and Transformation gets me up each morning. It can be as little as someone sharing how God met them on a walk that day, by seeing the sunshine and the waves crash on the sand. It can be as large as knowing that today someone overcame their own suicidal thoughts and deep depression to give love and encouragement to another. Experiencing God walking with us in both joys and pain and sharing that with each other, each day. To be a part of an Intergenerational faith community where we truly do life together is a privilege. In this pandemic, we have loved, cared, and been connected even more than before. We have sought to give to those who are in need. We have sought to share God’s love in ways we could never have done before because the world is now so fearful and anxious. The world doesn’t hold onto hope as we do or know who is in control. God is in control, this is not a surprise to Him, and He will bring good things out of this crisis.
Tammy Tolman is the founding Pastor of an Intergenerational Faith community (Churches of Christ) in Australia. She has been actively involved in ministry for more than 30 years. Married for 32 years and with two adult children, Tammy is a trained teacher (DipTeach) and has a degree in theology from Australian College of Ministry. She has written two books and multiple resources that help leaders effectively minister to children and their families all over the world. Tammy speaks at conferences throughout Australia, New Zealand, the US, Lebanon, UK, Asia, and Cambodia. She currently works with a team to run Intergenerate Australia, which will be held online, June 16-17 (GenOn's Executive Director Liz Perraud and Board Member John Roberto will be two of the speakers).
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