What is “intergenerational worship”?
“Intergenerational worship” or “worship for all ages” is worship that seeks to equally worth people today of all ages. These are solutions that intentionally think about the requires of diverse ages in worship and the accessibility of complete participation of various generations. When quite a few churches give “child-friendly worship” or “family solutions,” churches practicing intergenerational worship aim to far better incorporate all the generations into the complete worship service, not just parents or young children.
Six Traits of Congregations Practicing Worship for All Ages
There are quite a few churches in which a diverse age span of men and women is present for the complete service. I would term this multi-generational worship, worship in which quite a few generations are present collectively. Churches practicing intergenerational worship intentionally think about how accessible their worship service is for various generations.
In quite a few congregations, this goes beyond exploring a young children/adult generational divide to asking yourself how the silent generation, child boomers, generation x, and millennials as distinctive generations can be invited to extra complete participation in worship.
two. Complete Participation
In some churches, a handful of leaders actively facilitate worship when the congregation is comparatively passive. Churches practicing intergenerational worship emphasize the complete participation of all worshipers. These churches appear for techniques to extend leadership invitations to as quite a few people today as doable and are deliberate about such as a assortment of generations.
Encouraging complete participation in worship may well consist of working with pictures or props through the sermon so that people today can participate by means of sight and sound. It may well consist of inventive presentations of scripture such as Biblical storytelling or skits. It may well consist of intentional occasions of quiet marked by a bell or inviting people today to play percussion instruments through some songs.
three. The Sound Issue
Beyond the organ, piano, handbells, or singing voices, church is filled with the sound of the gathered physique. From sneezes and coughs to dropped hymnals, churches practicing intergenerational worship are no various than any other group gathering. At any offered service you may well hear the beeping of someone’s hearing help operating out of batteries, the whoosh of an oxygen tank as a person breathes, or the clunk of a kneeler falling down, but what is pretty much particular is that you will hear the sound of young children.
Irrespective of whether it is laughter, crying, “whispers,” shuffling paper, or dropping crayons, it is challenging not to notice the presence of young children in worship. Churches practicing intergenerational worship acknowledge that this is a challenge and remind themselves that the present of becoming collectively in worship outweighs the inconvenience of sounds that may well be distracting.
four. Commitment of Time
In the Episcopal context (and most likely quite a few other people) time spent on liturgical preparation can differ broadly from congregation to congregation. Churches practicing intergenerational worship commit a considerable quantity of time preparing for worship.
For some, this time may well be spent in coaching worship leaders from acolytes to lay readers, chalice bearers, intercessors, and ushers so that leadership can be shared perform. For some, this time may well be spent in sermon writing so that diverse ages can connect with the preaching. For other people, this time may well be spent in intergenerational connection creating outdoors of worship so that the Physique of Christ can collect as a extra intentional family members in liturgy.
five. Reflection & Responsiveness
In congregations practicing worship for all ages, leaders build possibilities for worshipers to articulate what they noticed and to be heard by the neighborhood. The emphasis is on “noticing” and “wondering” rather than expressing private likes and dislikes. This reflection can take location in quite a few techniques. Some congregations collect for fifteen minutes weekly proper just after worship. Some give a reflection gathering month-to-month. Some invite reflections in a weekly e mail.
No matter the format, these occasions for reflection give church leaders a opportunity to hear the encounter of people today in the pews and give people today in the pews a opportunity to be heard. Responsiveness to these reflections requires the type of active listening and joint curiosity rather than reactiveness. The reflections present possibilities to be attentive to exactly where the Spirit is moving through worship and what is distracting people today from encountering God.
There are quite a few churches in which worship is led by a modest quantity of extremely educated men and women. In my encounter liturgy tends to really feel extremely polished and orderly in these locations. In churches practicing intergenerational worship, liturgy calls for substantially extra flexibility from each the leaders and the congregation.
When the perform of leadership is shared across the age spectrum and there is an emphasis on the complete participation of worshipers, it is inevitable that a thing will not go “as planned.” An individual will study the incorrect lesson, overlook to take up the supplying, spill the wine, or be operating into church half vested at the final minute. From time to time these modest blunders are funny, at times embarrassing, and at times distracting. But the finish outcome appears theologically sound: there is a sense that worshiping God is about presence and togetherness, not perfection.
Why It Matters
I care about extra congregations adopting practices of worship for all ages due to the fact I think that we belong to each and every other. We belong to each and every other as young children of God. The image of God resides in each and every of us our entire lives extended. We do not take on the image when we turn 13 or 18 or 21. And we do not shed the image when we cross “over the hill” or when our memory starts to fail.
When we collect collectively as younger and older pictures of the Creator, there is a wholeness that would not otherwise be. As Paul writes, “the physique does not consist of a single member but of many” and we have require of all the members in the Physique of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:14). We have innate worth to the neighborhood even when we do not “contribute” something visible in worship.
Moreover, we have gifts to share with each and every other. Every generation of our lives provides us fresh insight, exceptional techniques of connecting with God, and new skills that we can share with the neighborhood. Each generation has a thing to give. Substantial work ought to be produced to consist of everybody in the complete worship service – each these who can not however bring themselves to church and these who can no longer do so.
The weekly celebration of Holy Eucharist is our key perform as church. At its very best, we enact the planet as it ought to be by means of liturgy and this encounter informs the perform of the rest of our lives. If we claim that worship is the most vital point we do collectively as Christians, how can we justify leaving any individual out?
Sarah Bentley Allred is an MDiv. student at Virginia Theological Seminary. Previously, Sarah served for 4 years as Director of Children’s and Youth Ministries at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Higher Point, North Carolina. She loves nearby coffee shops, board games, the beach, and exploring new locations with her husband, Richard, and their dog, Grace.