Ministry across the generations
St James Lutheran Church in Moorabbin, a south-eastern suburb of Melbourne, is engaged with Grow Ministries in a pilot program within a cluster including two other congregations from the Melbourne area. The three congregations work together to see what they can do better to reach out with the gospel of Christ to all who have ears to hear for all generations.
I was the pastor at St James until I was called to minister at Toowoomba in South-East Queensland from the start of this year. While at Moorabbin I saw and experienced the changes that the program was fostering in the congregation.
St James is blessed with three generations of people in its congregation, but ‘silos’ had become obvious before we joined the Grow pilot program. The women’s group, youth group and small group were all working independently rather than collaborating in any way. This was not by design but was something that just happened over the years.
Grow Coaching helped us at St James to look at ourselves and break down the silos. Also we heard more about something we all knew of but had forgotten to enact – ‘cross+generational’ ministry. We looked at how we used our church plant and asked ourselves whether it served the needs of all generations.
We entered into an active mentoring activity which allowed connection between all generations. This involved teenagers mentoring the elderly and vice versa. This opportunity brought the congregation into a family and holistic environment. Members now seek ways to keep the silos down and build up relationships in Christ, across all generations.
At St James children are asked to come forward at communion first for a blessing and they often share activities made at Sunday school, which builds up relationships with all ages.
At Easter, a cross was made up of hundreds of homemade paper flowers. Each one was very different and all members contributed over weeks. The result was a time of joy and togetherness.
The congregation also has cross-generational fellowship through camps and worship.
As St James continues to reach out with the gospel to all people, the congregation thanks Grow Ministries and looks forward to working further to be a place where love comes to life.
Members now seek ways to keep the silos down and build up relationships in Christ, across all generations.
by Pastor Ray Pace
What is cross+generational ministry?
Cross+generational ministry takes place when people from a least two generations intentionally gather for the same activity in ways that reflect a shared experience.
How to encourage it:
- Think of ways you can involve as many generations in as many aspects of existing church life as possible.
- Think generations, not programs! Look for ways to add a cross+generational aspect to existing activities.
- Ask what’s already being done with one generational group that could become cross+generational.
Cross+generational ministry examples
- Congregational small group life
- Cross-age mentoring (youth, confirmation)
- Adopt-a-grandparent or adopt-a-grandchild programs
- All-age Sunday school
- Church-year workshops (using Grow Ministries GIFT (Generations In Faith Together) Lent, Advent, & Pentecost resources)
- Cross+generational ministry teams for youth and children’s ministry
- Cross+generational picnics/camps
- Cross+generational mission and service projects
- Congregational baptismal sponsors
**Cross+generational = intergenerational
For more information about Grow Coaching, please contact Director Jodi Brook: firstname.lastname@example.org