(For the first post in this series see, Are you part of the "&"?)
Many times when people hear “Family and Children’s Ministries” they have a very specific, non-realistic assumption of this ministry. The first question people forget to ask is, “What IS a family?” This question alone begins a conversation that is crucial in serving God’s people in lifelong faith formative ways.
Studies have shown we best serve our children in their faith if we include them alongside their family (in all of its forms, ages, and complexities) when teaching and talking about God.
To be intentionally intergenerational is a difficult task for those leading the church. It means that we have to collaborate, work together, and move away from our segregated silos.
Below are a variety of thought provoking statements (and a few questions) that we have encountered as part of this ongoing conversation. I encourage you to take a moment to think about these statements and join in the discussion. These statements do not directly reflect our personal thoughts, but they represent points of view and observations we have heard as we discern the ministry paradigm shift taking place in Family and Children’s Ministries.
Why do we (the local church) pay a senior pastor more money to “babysit” our adults than we do an associate or other pastor to serve our children and youth? Does the senior/associate model work?
Doesn’t Children Worship & Wonder remove kids from worship in a way that segregates? Is this a negative?
Grandparents are becoming the primary caregivers for many children. How does this change our ministries?
Church camp is primarily for white people. Why do people feel this way?
Technology/Sports/Etc. is “killing” or “saving” the church.
Children’s Time is the only time during worship meant for children. Is it?
We invite everyone to the table, except kids. Thoughts?
Children Worship & Wonder is just for children. Is it?
Christian Education is different than lifelong Faith Formation. What do you think?
Intergenerational faith does not work for anyone’s needs. Insights?
Ask people around you, “What is a youth, child, young adult, elder, etc.?” (Answers are constantly different.)
Our team continues to have discussions on these topics and many more. Our team even spends a lot of time trying to shift the image of what it means to a team that works across all generations and cultures. We are trying to represent the “family” of Christ in all its beautiful forms. We have a lot of work to do, but intentional “&s” allow all of us to move outside the boxes we have created into the world God calls us to serve. Will you be a part of this “&?” We need you in these discussions.
Olivia & Olivia
Olivia Updegrove & Olivia Stewart serve as joint Family & Children's Ministers for the Chrisitan Church (Disciples of Christ). Read their bios on our Staff page.