Intergenerational Worship

Intergenerational Worship

It’s time to be real. It’s time to admit that worship with all ages present is easy to do appallingly and difficult to do well. It’s time to acknowledge that it takes a huge amount of grace from every participant. But it’s also time to admit that a church that unthinkingly packs off any subgroup, old or young, to worship and learn in another space every week could well be as daft as a person merrifly cutting off his own leg. It’s as ridiculous as that. (Lucy Moore, All Age Worship, page 6)

The quote above really stopped me and gave me a lot to think about as I was beginning to consider the value and need for intergenerational worship experiences. And now, several years into both my continued research and learning and my own leadership and development of all ages worship experiences I am absolutely convinced that she is correct. It is time fellow pastors and leaders, parents and parishoners to realize the incredible missed opportunity and dare I say even harm we are doing to the body of Christ and to the younger ones entrusted to us by not intentionally engaging all ages in worship.

When it comes to Intergenerational Worship I think it is less about how and more a matter of will. Will you choose to take up the challenge of critical reflection, planning and preparation required to engage all ages in worship? Will you take the risk to imagine and discover new ways of bringing everyone together in music, in telling Bible stories and prayer that engages all ages? If the will is there, let me offer some ways CBOQ Kids can come alongside you to develop the how.

Option 1: Host a 2 hour Intergenerational Worship Seminar at your church. This practical, interactive seminar explores what it means to develop and plan intentionally inclusive worship experiences where people from young to old can experience God in meaningful ways together.

Option 2: Assemble a team of volunteers interested in planning an intergenerational worship service and contact Tanya to book consulting time to work with your team on the development of this experience. This could include 1-3 sessions or ongoing consultation.

Option 3: Similar to Option 2 but with the addition of Tanya’s direct leadership/involvement as needed to lead an intergenerational worship service.

If you are not quite sure if you are ready for any of these options but you are interested in exploring this further please email Tanya to begin a discussion of what your next steps may be.

When it comes to Intergenerational Ministry there are so many great resources available! Key books I recommend are shown below. They link to brief book reviews.




Weblinks worth checking out:

GenOn Ministries There are many helpful resources and articles, including a great evaluative tool.

Sticky Faith Helpful resources, articles and research.

Barnabas in Churches Ideas, programs, events, teaching outlines and more.

Messy Church Lots of great ideas that can be used/adapted even if you are not running Messy Church.

Intergenerational Tool Kit A fantastic resource put together by the Christian Reformed Church.

Lifelong Faith Articles, research and ideas curated from numerous Protestant and Roman Catholic churches.

reFocus An excellent blog about intergenerational worship and ministry.

This is a great blog post on Why Intergenerational Ministry?

CBOQ created resources:

Planning Intergenerational Events A resource for planning events along with some step by step instructions of event ideas.

In 2018 our theme emphasis for our entire denomination was on Next Generation Ministry. For our CBOQ Sunday we created a worship resource for planning an intergenerational service. For our Annual Assembly (3 day gathering of pastors and delegates for our business, worship and learning convention) I led a workshop that essentially took that resource guide and practically showed an example of leading it as an intergenerational service. Both the worship resource as well as the youtube recording of the workshop are posted below:

Worship-Resources A planning resource created for CBOQ Sunday.

Worship Bulletin An example of a way to create a bulletin that can enhance the intergenerational worship experience.

For 2018 Assembly, utilizing the CBOQ worship resource, I created a ‘workshop’ experience of one ways of leading an intergenerational service:

I led a workshop for parents at Malvern Baptist Church on preparing their children for worship:

Stories of Intergenerational Worship from some of our churches:

Intergenerational Easter Experience

Intergenerational Experiences: Prayer

Intergenerational Experiences: Children in Worship without tears

Intergenerational Experiences: Dedicating Parents

Intergenerational worship at Highland Baptist

Worship Questions to Reflect On  

How often do your services include elements that acknowledge or appeal to all ages, including children, teens, adults and seniors? 

At what age do children in your church attend worship with the adults? Thinking theologically and biblically, why does your church choose to niche or mix various age groups? 

If your church includes children for part or all of the worship service, what are your expectations for their behavior? How do families learn what your church considers appropriate in worship? 

What would you lose by changing who attends, designs or leads worship? What would you gain? 

What is the best way you’ve found to engage all ages in worship? 

Which intergenerational worship participation changes have been easy to implement yet have made a measurable difference? 

What are the best insights on how to engage all generations in worship, while remaining true to your congregational values? 

When kids worship separately for years, how do they form the habit of worshipping with adults? 

Which worship habits does your church do best with and at what age do worshippers start practicing them? 

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