This is what motivated us to intentionally integrate intergenerational worship into the life of the church. We began by breaking down Children’s Sunday and fitting into the order of worship. It had been an hour devoted to a musical presented by the children and presentations of gratitude to the teachers. We then created an intergenerational worship service out of World Communion Sunday, a service that already was a little outside-the-box and lent itself perfectly to a service of this nature. Joe and David taught me the importance of keeping the integrity of the worship service, following the order of worship and keeping that rhythm and flow intact. This was never going to be a contemporary/alternative praise service. They almost always follow the lectionary, and we typically offer 5 or 6 of them a year.
As a result, I am proud to say that our children are deeply connected to worship and to the members of the congregation. They are knowledgeable about the order of worship. They understand the prayer of confession, the offertory, the prayers of the people. They are learning the hymns and enjoying the voices of the choir. They are respectful and engaged in the service. Adults have commented that not only do they love to see the children engaged and are impressed by their preparation and presence, but they also enjoy the colorful nature of these worship services where the Bible stories are accessible and truly come to life. As a bonus, we are teaching a life skill in that we are raising young people who are confident in public speaking because they cut their teeth with the most loving audience, their congregation. And every time I’ve taken them on a field trip or a retreat and the leaders ask for participants, FCC kids are the first to raise their hands.
I am grateful that we are a church that is welcoming and hospitable to its young people. I am grateful for Joe’s openness and trust in inviting the children to lead us in worship. I am grateful to the parents who are encouraging and supportive of their children’s participation. I am grateful for our young people who are courageous enough to stand before you. But most of all, I am grateful that our children have the opportunity to not only participate in worship, but worship alongside their parents. It is my hope that these special moments of time will be valuable memories in their faith story.