Principles

Defining Intergenerational Ministry

Defining intergenerational ministry is an essential first step in doing intergenerational ministry. So, let’s consider what it is.

What is intergenerational ministry?

Intergenerational ministry is different age groups intentionally cooperating to connect with each other, with Jesus and with His Story.

To elaborate:

Intergenerational ministry is different age groups …

The building block of intergenerational ministry is different age groups interacting to love and live for Jesus. Ideally, it’s significant connections between older, middle and younger generations. Yet it’s more than different age groups gathering together for multi-generational programs. Intergenerational ministry can’t be programmatized. True intergenerational ministry is a core value rooted in a church’s DNA. It’s the attitude and commitment of all age groups to “love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other” Romans 12:10 (NLT).

True intergenerational ministry is a core value rooted in a church's DNA. Share on X

Intergenerational ministry is intentional …

Intergenerational ministry requires the purposeful cultivation of all-encompassing, all-age relationships. It’s intentionally moving from a ministry that’s mainly age-isolated to a ministry that’s mostly age-integrated. It happens when people deliberately step outside their age-segregated comfort zones to make space to hear from God, learn from each other, encourage full participation, and do what they can to help one another in age-inclusive settings.

Intergenerational ministry is cooperating …

Intergenerational ministry should be characterized by mutuality, equality and reciprocity. The objective is to create and sustain unity, belonging and cohesion between different generations while maintaining generational diversity. It’s where each generation’s experiences, voices and contributions are genuinely listened to and valued. Setting aside any status or preferences associated with age, it’s agreeing with each other, loving each other, and being deep-spirited friends (cf. Ephesians 2:2 MSG).

Intergenerational ministry should be characterized by mutuality, equality and reciprocity. Share on X

[Note: Intergenerational ministry is compromised when a church’s worship, witnessing and work is mainly done by one generation.]

Intergenerational ministry is connecting with each other …

Intergenerational ministry is different age groups actively being and doing church together – giving and receiving invitations to team up. Think of it as generations colliding (in a good way). It’s fostering environments and experiences where different age groups are welcomed, received and feel a deep sense of belonging. It’s authentic all-age conversations and faith storytelling. And it’s praying, participating and pursuing the presence of God together.

Intergenerational ministry is different age groups actively being and doing church together - giving and receiving invitations to team up. Share on X

Intergenerational ministry is connecting with Jesus and with His Story …

Intergenerational ministry aims for all age groups to be Jesus-loving and biblically-directed. It’s established on scriptural, not cultural principles. It’s seeking the flourishing of faith communities where all generations journey together in humble, accountable relationships that form and sustain lifelong commitments to Jesus that exemplify the call to live and function interactively as the body of Christ (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:27).

The above elements produce a healthy, growing intergenerational community where everyone jointly and collaboratively uses their gifts to build each other up in the faith and knowledge of Christ until they become fully mature (cf. Ephesians 4:13).

Defining intergenerational ministry: What would you add or subtract from the above?

Related Articles

Becoming Intergenerational

From Age-Isolated to Age-Integrated: Initiating Intergenerational Ministry in Your Church

© Scripture Union, 2024

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1 Comment

  1. I agree totally! We are all God’s people and we all need to be involved in learning and doing things for God.

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