Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. – Matt 18:5
Beginning June 29, 5th Sundays at Lakeshore will be designated Intergenerational Worship Services. The goal of these services is to create a space where people of all ages feel welcome and are able to praise God, listen for God, and unite with the people of God in worship. These services will be more “family friendly” than our typical services, with more of an invitation to congregational participation and an appeal to our multiple senses. Children entering grades 3 and older will be encouraged to participate fully in our worship. I’m still envisioning exactly what they will look like – and am open to your suggestions.
As we begin to craft services of Intergenerational Worship, there are a few things I do NOT want to happen. I do NOT want to simply ask kids to sit in a worship service that is geared toward adults. I also do NOT want adults to sit in a worship service that is geared only toward children. What I hope is that at least four times a year, we can find ways to become an intergenerational congregation – who worships the God of Every Age together.
Many churches struggle with how to include diverse generations in worship, and there are a number of good reasons why this is so – kids and adults have different educational, spiritual and worship needs. At Lakeshore, our worship services are geared toward adults, and we have a great Sunday School program for kids during worship. But, an unintended consequence of separating ourselves according to age every Sunday is that our worshiping congregation is diminished. Kids don’t learn how to worship God in the context of a larger community. Parents don’t feel that there is a place for their children in worship. Adults miss out on the joy, curiosity and insight kids bring to worship.
Lakeshore has always been a congregation committed to diversity, knowing that it takes work to bring together people of diverse experiences and allow them to really connect with one another. Worship is the central moment in our life together when we unite as a community and open ourselves up to praising God and listening for God. It is my great hope that we can find ways to be a welcoming congregation – to kids, to parents of kids, and to adults. Please partner with me in welcoming all ages to worship on 5th Sundays.