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Without fail, whenever someone asks me what helped me stick with Jesus through high school and into adulthood, second to God’s will and the work of the Holy Spirit, I would say is the number of adults at my church, who invested in relationship with me. Other than my parents, I can think of 10 people from my church, who would check in on me, love me, and serve faithfully. In my first year of college, of course my senior minister would then tell me that this was all his secret mastermind plan, to create opportunities for intergenerational relationships, because these would be what would grow and stretch me most.

What is intergenerational ministry?

Intergenerational ministry is the intentional bringing together of people of many different ages to love and serve one another, for the purpose of building us all up. This means, even when it’s hard, we bring different people together, and we give them opportunities to learn together.

Why is this important?

There are many reasons why I think intergenerational ministry is important, here are just 3:

  1. It’s in the Bible! Deuteronomy 6:4-9, the well-known command to love the Lord, and to impress these commands onto children, is given to all Israel. It is the corporate Israel’s job to ensure they are passing on the Law to the next generation. Psalm 78 reiterates this, urging the whole people of God to tell the next generation God’s work. In the same way, Titus 2, encourages older men and women to teach younger men and women, instructing them in godliness.
  2. Statistics also tell us that people who have been Christians for a long time have had at least 5 adults who have invested in their discipleship from a young age. Older Christians partner with younger Christians has helped to mature their faith and enable them to participate with the church.
  3. It is good for us because investing in intergenerational relationships grows and stretches us. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t always easy. But, when we push ourselves to invest in those who are different to us, whether they are older or younger, we are learning to bear with one another. Intergenerational ministry teaches us to love people who may not have anything in common with us. And I wouldn’t be surprised if we learnt things that we would never learn if we only surrounded ourselves with people that are exactly like us!

I am convinced that investing in intergenerational ministry is how we express our identity as the family of God. I’m also convicted that this is how we raise up mature disciples.

So, what can we do?

Think about the places at church where you are likely to run into people in a different life stage to you! Morning tea? Lunch? Growth group? Pick up from kids church? I’m sure I’ve missed some, but why not use these opportunities to get to know people who are not like you. Why not include children into your growth group discussion? Why not ask the elderly couple how their week has been? Let’s be a church committed to loving those that are different to us, even if that’s hard! Let’s be a more full expression of the people of God, so that we may all be presented mature in Christ!

Preeti Jadav
Ministry Intern