Intergenerational Relationships are one of our values at Cross Connection. We think of ourselves as a family and we value every generation investing in one another. The blessing flows both ways.
Helping Them Choose to Stay
A few years ago a report was released that revealed why so many young adults were leaving the church. A top reason given why teenagers stayed connected to their church after graduation was because of the relationships they had formed with other adults in the church.
The study showed that when a young person had 3-5 strong relational ties with older people in their church family this greatly increased the likelihood of them staying connected to that church family.
Our Church Responds
We formed a Family Gathering Team. They prayerfully and strategically create an annual rhythm of larger family gatherings to help build healthy relationships between the generations. I believe there is great benefit for the youth to have their own time, but it is also extremely important to have family gatherings that will equally bless each generation.
With this in mind we sometimes invite different generations to join the youth for various activities. Together they’ve enjoyed Charis Camp Kick offs, summer picnics, game nights, and car rallies to name a few.
We learn as we experiment. We began youth potlucks once a month. The idea was to take a night to hear stories from youth about how God was working in their lives. It didn’t take long to notice something was missing. Two things actually. First–good food. Youth potlucks tend to attract chips and cookies. Second–we were missing the larger church family. I wanted the stories the youth were sharing to be heard by parents and others in the church, and for the older and more mature people in the faith to share their stories with the youth.
I would not be where I am today without the love, care, support, encouragement, and belief of older believers in my life.
We look for ways to be intergenerational on Sunday mornings, too. We see the blessing that flows when we get into groups of all ages to pray.
More reasons to be intergenerational
Besides the survey results, here are a few more reasons why we think this blending of the generations is so important:
- God is a family! Before the world began there was a family and He made us in His image.
- The Bible is all about God restoring all things and we see God working through generations to accomplish this.
- Passing the Faith to the next generation. Deuteronomy 4:9 says “Only be on your guard and diligently watch yourselves, so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen, and so that they do not slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and grandchildren.”
- It really does take a village. We need others! In biblical times the Jewish people would live with their “Oikos” households. These households were more than just blood families. It included aunts, uncles, children, and anyone else who would have been invested in the family business. The purpose of the household was to help with provision and protection.
At Cross Connection we understand we were never meant to journey alone. We love to gather as a family to worship, play and grow.
- What new thing could we do to strengthen inter-generational relationships at our church?
- What are we already doing in this regard? How could we make this even better?
- If we consider intergenerational relationships to be important at church, how do we make sure this is continually ‘built-in’ and ‘lived out’ within our church family?
Connections Pastor at Cross Connection Church Chilliwack, BC