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Intergenerational Ministry

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Intergenerational ministry has become a trending theme in formation circles in the last few years, but many of us may be confused by the meaning, or unsure how to implement a different kind of programming. In short, intergenerational ministry is anything that brings people of different ages (or generations) together. This is in contrast to age-based worship, formation, or service opportunities. Most churches have a little bit of both!

Research is showing us that there are many benefits to fostering an intergenerational culture in your congregation. Children and young people respond well to conversations with adults other than their parents, and this is a great way to empower older adults who have a lot to share. It can also address the shifts in church attendance and schedules that make it difficult to gather cohorts of the same age. An intergenerational focus also models a “real life” faith practice–we don’t categorize most other life activities strictly by age, so why do so at church?

There are some challenges as well! While this type of ministry has been around a long time, available curriculums and programming doesn’t always reflect it. In our experience, adults can sometimes resist intergenerational activities too. Many may feel ill-equipped or unwilling to engage in formation or conversations with children and young people, so it’s important to foster an encouraging, compassionate, and persistent culture if you are introducing new programs.

If you have successful intergenerational programs in your congregation, let us know or share your story with the Diocese! If you want to learn more, here are some resources: