InterGen Sundays: “Everybody together in the big room.”
We launched our church with an intergenerational worship service called “Kidstuf” in 2004. Kidstuf is the “brain child” of Reggie Joiner, who pioneered it as a shared family experience where kids would bring their parents into a “kids world” at church. For the first year and a half of our existence, all we did was Kidstuf and small groups. We learned in those early days that something very special happens when everybody is together in the big room. It really does take parents AND a faith community, working together, to pass on faith to the next generation.
Resources for Parents @ Generations:
Studio252 (a website for kids AND parents that talks about the same things we cover in G’town and on InterGen Sundays)
ParentCue (an app for iPhone and Android devices that gives parents tools to leverage spiritual conversations in the middle of everyday life)
What we’ve learned along the way:
We know that early impressions can last a lifetime. That’s why one of our major goals for babies and toddlers is to create a consistent place where they are loved and welcomed…and know it!
Because we are a smaller congregation, we don’t issue ID tags, because it is easy for us to keep track of kids. However, we employ a system to make sure kids at Generations are safe, one that includes: background checks for workers, a system of “hand-offs” to make sure the right kids are only given to the right parents, two workers present at all times, etc. Church can and should be a place where children are not only loved…but safe.
Our preschoolers currently hang out in our (large) nursery room. They have their own, separate group time (with a story) that has activities that are appropriate for their age and development.
The school years are some of the most formative of a child’s life. That’s because most children have formulated their way of looking at how the world works (world-view) by age 9. G’town is where our school-age kids hear one Bible story and one bottom-line presented by a master teacher and where they meet friends and talk about God in the context of small groups. Our small group leaders are the same leaders each and every week (NO rotations!) who engage kids in meaningful discussions and activities.
The neat thing about what we do for elementary-age children is found in our one-two punch! An elementary-age child at Generations has the potential to hear one Bible story and one idea (which, once a month, happens when everyone is together in the big room). That kid then has the potential to hear that idea several more times during the week from mom and/or dad. Our curriculum is built around a monthly emphasis on 36 virtues and 150 Bible stories. What we do is really a partnership with parents…to help them pass on their faith to their children!
Because we believe some things are more important than other things, we do have three core beliefs we want our kids to have stuck in their minds and hearts before they head off to middle school: