Intergenerational ministry develops disciples and energizes churches by bringing together any combination of at least two generations in planned and purposeful settings, empowering these generations to mutually invest in each other and in their faith community, and intentionally encouraging Christian relationships among the generations.
The ultimate statement of ministry effectiveness is an abundant life-giving relationship with God through Jesus Christ, thus ministry solutions are effective when they help people become active disciples of Christ, living in that abundant life-giving relationship.
Through scripture, we come to know that to God, relationships are everything. This is true for our personal relationship with God and for the relationships we have with one another. Our relationships with one another are made new because of our relationship with God. Relationships with persons of all ages are essential to Christian formation and the development of mature faith. For intergenerational Christian formation to happen, the generations must be together on an on-going basis, they must know each other, and they must experience life in the body of Christ together in a variety of settings.
Scripture bears witness to God, who exists as three persons, in a relationship of perfect love with human beings everywhere. Even though there is much about the mystery of God that we will never be able to grasp fully or understand completely, at least this much has been revealed to us: God is, and chooses to be, in a loving relationship with all of us. Thus, since scripture speaks about God in a relational manner, so should we. Human beings are all created in the image and likeness of God, with the capacity to be extensions of God in their everyday lives.
Jesus used powerful examples of treating “outsiders” as if they belonged. By striving to treat every person as a child of God, we are trying to repeat Jesus’ pattern of giving people experiences of God’s unconditional love that will call them into abundant life-giving relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
Because everyone in the congregation is teaching all the time through our actions and relationships—whether we know it or not—it’s important for us to talk as if everyone is a Child of God. This is how we pass on the gifts of one generation to another: through thoughtful, life-giving, purposeful interactions with one another on a regular basis and whole-heartedly.