Relationships have a more lasting impact than programs.
—Robert J. Keeley, Helping Our Children Grow in Faith, p. 35
Being an intergenerational church isn’t about adding another program or putting an end to segregated ministries. It’s a way of life—being God’s family in a way that values, equips, and includes all ages. It’s about belonging.
People who lived in Old Testament Israel knew what it meant to belong to God’s family. Daphne Kirk describes it like this:
When God set his people Israel in order, he placed each individual within a family, each family within a tribe, and each tribe within the nation. No generation was excluded, no child left out, no older person put aside. Within each tribe were the components of family; they were community.
—Heirs Together: Establishing Intergenerational Church, p. 17
Given their family history, it’s not surprising that the early Christian church also lived as an intergenerational community, worshiping and praying together, eating in each other’s homes, and sharing belongings (Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-35). Contrast that with North American culture, in which we sort ourselves by how old we are: seniors live in retirement homes with other seniors, middle-aged adults work with other middle-aged adults, young adults attend college and interact with other young adults, and children are segregated by grade.
Our churches—the communities in which God’s family gathers weekly and with whom we grow in faith—are one of the few remaining places where people of all ages have the opportunity to learn and grow, serve, and worship together. We are a faith community in which “one generation commends [God’s] works to another” (Ps. 145:4). We are a family made up of people of all ages who live into and live out of God’s story together.
We’re about belonging. And God planned it that way.