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. Many of our churches already are learning and developing intergenerational worship experiences in their community. A few years ago we featured 3 blog posts written by Pastor Gene Tempelmeyer, Spring Garden Church as they began to plan intergenerational worship experiences. You can read them here:
Spring Garden Church has continued to develop their intergenerational worship experiences. Hear is what Pastor Gene, Lead Pastor and Pastor Sam, Pastor of Discipleship Ministries shared with me:
It took a great deal of communicating with adults and practical instruction for children to come to the point that we are able to share worship experiences meaningful to everyone across the age spectrum. Several years of intergenerational experience has transformed chaos into engagement, noise into praise, apprehension about the whole project into anticipation of the next celebration. We still need and want to become more adept at including all generations, but have come far enough that we see long term and short term benefits of continuing to work at it. (Pastor Gene)
There’s no magic formula to make intergenerational worship work. It takes effort, intentionality, and commitment in making disciples of all ages and stages a priority. It is recognizing that church is not just about what we like but how we can help each other grow. (Pastor Sam)
Highland Baptist has also been developing intergenerational worship experiences. You can read their story here.
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.
There is a 1 hour Intergenerational Worship Webinar on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 11 am.
Please email Tanya to register.
All of these options are available to CBOQ Churches free of charge. I look forward to coming alongside you in your journey of developing and strengthening intergenerational worship in your faith community.