By Rev. Melissa Cooper
LECFamily Program Coordinator
If you're familiar with LECFamily and have followed our blog, liked our Facebook page, or attended one of our workshops, you are probably surprised by the title of this post. But I mean it!
Stop trying to do intergenerational ministry! No more intergenerational programs!
Why? Because our goal should actually be to create an intergenerational culture.
I can't tell you how many conversations I have with church leaders who are proud of their intergenerational church. They share how much intergenerational ministry they do, from children's ministry to youth ministry to parenting groups ... and yet much of what they describe only serves one generation at a time. We call that multigenerational. Something to be celebrated, certainly, but it's not intergenerational.
Or, I will get the church that brags about its intergenerational-ness through confirmation mentors or youth Sundays or children's Sabbath. All wonderful things, and yet, those are still programs.
The overwhelming answer to the question "Why do 40-50% of our youth group graduates leave the church and never come back?" is a resounding, "Because they've never actually been part of the church."
They weren't in community worship until the 5th grade (or later!). Why do we think they are "ready" when they've never actually seen what happens in "big church?" We have removed them from the key Christian community experience in their most formative years.
They've never met the matriarchs and patriarchs of your church, the people who could teach them the most about being a Christ follower because they have the most experience with it.
I could go on, but the moral of the story is that we can't solve the problems of the church's future with another program or worship style. We have to be committed to a culture shift.
So again I say, "Stop doing intergenerational ministry!" Instead, seek to create an intergenerational culture.
Want to explore how to create this culture shift in your congregation? Check out the opportunities available through LECFamily!