If your family is anything like mine, every family gathering features a grownup table and a children’s table. The grownup table is where serious conversation takes place, and children, frankly, aren’t welcome there. The children’s table is often a makeshift arrangement to the side or in a backroom.
Sometimes a congregation can be gathered in the same building, at the same time, yet people are not fully present to one another. We purposely separate the generations. This image of two tables is helpful in considering how churches often separate different generations. However, the image of coming together around one common table is central to the Christian faith. Being together is at the core of family worship. Yet so often, we have failed to live into this ideal of gathering as one family around a single table.
Healthy intergenerational worship in the blood family as well as in the faith family may not occur until worship leaders are willing to lead gathered intergenerational worship, at a single table. Here are 5 suggestions:
1. Lead different generations to PRAY for and with one another.
Praying for and with one another is not just praying for another generation to change its minds. Praying for and with one another is living out real care for one another, without partiality, being both on the giving as well as on the receiving end of corporate prayer. We all gain in our offering of our prayers together to God.
2. Lead them to READ Scripture to and with one another.
Scripture must be the foundation of intergenerational worship. Nothing softens the heart of a grandparent more than to hear his or her grandchild read the word of God. There’s real blessedness in family scriptural devotionals.
3. Lead them to SHARE ministry together.
Much of our faith is better caught than taught. Not minimizing the latter, living out our faith adds validity and encouragement to those you are ministering to. No Christian is called to be lonesome, we do ministry together. Shared ministry requires sacrifice, humility, and an investment of time and trust. Serving others together encourages and generates unity.
4. Lead them to SING together.
We were made to worship HIM, and that, together. All of us. Instead of segmenting the church by age group, lead intergenerational worship on Sundays where young and old sing and worship together as one. Same principle applies, of course primarily, at home.
5. Lead them to PLAY together.
The Acts 2 church exemplifies intergenerational relationships, spending time together, having everything in common, breaking bread in their homes, and eating together with glad and sincere hearts. Lead them to connect to each other through sharing meals, time, and playing with each other. Yes, like the reformers used to say, “We can thank God for laughter, as nowhere in the Bible is it forbidden for us to have fun”. So let’s enjoy having fun together.
Call it intergenerational connections or, as the puritans used to call it, “Integrated Family Worship”. This is what it is. This is our calling. Let’s study, serve, sing & play together ! Praying that the Spirit of unity be with us. Intergenerationally and multigenerationally.
This article is partially excerpted and broadly amended from churchleadership.com.
For Further reading on this topic, we suggest: