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Intergenerational worship is worship in which people of every age are understood to be equally important. Each generation has the same significance before the face of God and in the worshiping congregation. . . . Each and all are the church of now.

—Howard Vanderwell, The Church of All Ages, p. 11 

Weekly worship gatherings are the family reunions of God’s people. We gather as one body to praise God, find rest in God, be reminded of our hope in God, hear our call from God, and leave equipped by God. It is, as Robbie Castleman says, “the only thing we get to do forever.”

Picture your congregation during its weekly worship gathering.

  • Which generations are there?
  • Which generations aren’t there?
  • Which generations are equally important participants?
  • What message do your answers convey to your congregation and to your community?

Worshiping in a way that says to all ages, “You belong here,” and that invites all ages to participate in meaningful ways requires intentionality. It’s ongoing. It’s challenging. But, as Theresa Cho points out, it’s also faith nurturing: Worshiping as an intergenerational community pushes and challenges us to be aware of how all in worship experience God’s presence; opens us up to the spontaneity of the Holy Spirit; give[s] us permission to not claim to know it all; and [encourages us to] exercise grace, forgiveness, and unconditional love to those that we deem different than ourselves.

The What and How of Intergenerational Worship

Historically the CRC has placed a high value on intergenerational worship. As a result, congregations already have many resources at their fingertips from

This section of the toolkit focuses on ideas for worship planners and suggestions for parents, and we hope you’ll pass these along to the families in your congregation. To start off, download this list of Ten Way to Strengthen Intergenerational Worship. 





Celebrating Milestones

  • Learn how celebrating milestones can transform a congregation and shape a vital partnership between home and church in Passing on Faith—Milestone to Milestone.
  • Does your congregation bless people with the gift of a Bible as a way to celebrate a milestone? How might that gift become a way to remind the recipient that their church is also their family? The Cookbook Bible provides a few ideas.


Engaging Multiple Senses

Including Children and Youth

Including People with a Variety of Abilities

  • Read about the theology of inclusion here.
  • Use these Inclusive Language Suggestions during worship.
  • This list of Role Based Tips provides ideas for including worship leaders, Lord’s Supper servers, praise band members, Scripture readers, and more to help you “widen the welcome.”


  • The Preaching Tag-Team Challenge describes how two generations might work together to prepare a message for all generations.
  • Is providing a children’s sermon a practice in your congregation? Provide presenters with this resource: How to Deliver an Effective Children’s Sermon.
  • Daunted by the thought of preaching with all ages in mind? Before you try “family-friendly” gimmicks like balloons or clowns, read this.
  • Bless the whole church with the three preaching ideas in this post.
  • Visit our Faith Storytelling toolkit for ideas on how to incorporate storytelling into the service.


  • When children were noisy during worship at Rev. Barry Kelk’s church, he would stop and say, “Can you hear the children? The day we can’t hear them we will have died, because they are our heartbeat.” Find out what happened next in this delightful Conversation about Intergenerational Ministry.
  • Forest City North Church in London, Ontario, created a Love Is video with people spanning seven decades in age; The Easter Story features children and adults retelling the account from Mark 16:1-8; and in these videos people of varying ages who have intellectual and developmental disabilities recite Psalm 139. How might your church make or use an intergenerational video to begin a worship service or to lead into a message?
  • Worship as One: Disability in Community and its accompanying resource will support your congregation in ensuring that your intergenerational worship is inclusive worship.



  • “Worship for All Ages: Ideas for Lent and Easter” and “Intergenerational Worship 101” are just two of the recorded webinars offered by Practical Resources for Churches.