|MUC were well represented at Generate 2017, a workshop run by the UCA Centre of Theology and Ministry on Saturday 18 March to explore Intergenerational Ministry. The day was part of a two day training workshop and I was joined by fellow MUC members Chris Mitchell, Ken Manson, and John Steel on day 2.
|Christ Barnett, the Children and Families Ministry Co-ordinator at CTM gave us a thorough history of the growth of UCA from its beginnings as a Mono-cultural to a Multicultural church, moving to a Cross-cultural church and nowadays, an Inter-cultural Church. This history lesson was useful in understanding where and how attitudes and our faith journeys have formed into what we are today.
|The rationale behind Intergenerational Ministry was discussed as a product of several theories, including developmental, social learning, ecological and socio-cultural theories and Chris raised two definitions of Intergenerational Ministry;
We were reminded that Intergenerational Ministry is not purely about worship and is much more than just about children and their families; it covers the Church as a whole. We should be caring, praying, learning, celebrating and serving our awesome God together. It sounds simple, I agree, but as we know, this task has its challenges.
The group were asked to complete a mapping exercise to identify various stakeholders (i.e. leadership teams, aging community, young families and children etc) in our church community and discuss their specific needs and possible solutions that could assist in meeting these needs. This exercise was simple but effective in forcing us to identify the feelings and thoughts of stakeholders within our MUC community and realise that many of our fears and solutions overlap and are not dissimilar.
Our very own Drew Hanna assisted Chris Barnett in encouraging us by providing helpful resources to assist us with being successful in Intergenerational Ministry. These include frameworks such as Here2Stay and Sticky Faith and books such as Belonging and Becoming by Mark and Lisa Scandrette.
We were encouraged by stories from Church leaders from the Banyule Network and Horsham region who have taken deliberate steps to build Intergenerational Ministry through worship and pastoral care activities such as Messy Church, Social Dinners and newly formed Intergenerational Worship services. Discussion of their successes and challenges highlighted that success in Intergenerational Ministry requires work and acceptance that perhaps not all who are invited to participate will come, but those who are eager to eat from Christ’s table will be fed (see parable of the Great Feast Luke 14:16-26).
My hope and prayer is that MUC can continue to be fed by the love of God on the same table, together.