Leaving their children at home with babysitters while she and her husband were nurturing their own faith just didn’t seem right to Karen Fayer. So she and her husband began having conversations with others at Barrhaven Fellowship in Ottawa, Ontario about forming an intergenerational small group in which their faith could be nurtured together. That was two years ago. Today their family is part of an intergenerational small group which includes a couple in their 60’s, a single adult in her 40’s, and two families with children aged 9-14.
The group meets monthly and begins their gathering with social time over a potluck dinner. What happens after the meal varies and may include a devotion, an activity or game, a time of prayer, serving others, and/or singing. One value that runs through all that they do is equal participation for all ages. The group is intentional about including everyone and does so by rotating around the group during reading and prayer—even the children help lead alongside their parents. Karen notes that as group members got to know one another and trust levels began to grow, even the shyest members became more comfortable with the level of participation.
In addition to the usual challenges brought about by the busy lifestyles of group members, the major challenge of this group has been finding a great resource to use regularly for their devotional time. Having a materials designed for an intergenerational study would be ideal. Even without such a resource Karen has appreciated the faith nurturing conversations that occur within the group. “I thought I would miss the in-depth Bible and book study of other small groups,” she says, “but found that generally not to be the case, since the truths that we explored were always powerful and meaningful.” Other blessings that Karen has experienced include:
- Beautiful worship with all ages.
- Witnessing how the diversity present in the group brings out the personalities and gifts of its members in fresh and interesting ways.
- Watching children express their faith openly and honestly and seeing them grow as leaders and disciples in Christ.
Karen adds that being part of this intergenerational group has developed her own faith, “particularly I was challenged by the way children and older individuals have such a solid, honest trust in God, and a faithfulness in prayer.”