What Is Intergenerational Worship?

Kara Powell | Oct 6, 2009

Photo by Sarah Noltner

These days at FYI, and at other places, there's a lot of talk about intergenerational worship. But what exactly do we mean by that term?

I quickly skimmed The Church of All Ages: Generations Worshiping Together, edited by Howard Vanderwell, this week. The book defines intergenerational worship as worship in which people of every age are understood to be equally important.

The book cites 3 types of congregations described by Jackson W. Carroll and Wade Clark Roof. First is the inherited-tradition congregation, which seeks to conserve its past heritage as a higher priority than adapting to new circumstances.

Second is the blended congregation in which the community tries to appeal to all the generations it encompasses.

Third is the generation-specific congregation which focuses on one generation.

As youth ministries, we tend to function often like generation-specific congregation. And yet more and more of us are longing to experience the blended congregation that includes all generations. That's a tough dance to dance.

What has your church done to help your kids experience community with those who are older and younger than them? We'd love to know. We always curious to hear from you and learn from you.

Kara Powell

Dr. Kara Powell is the Executive Director of the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary, and Fuller's Chief of Leadership Formation. Named by Christianity Today as one of “50 Women You Should Know,” Kara serves as a Youth and Family Strategist for Orange, and also speaks regularly at parenting and leadership conferences. Kara is the author or coauthor of a number of books, including Growing Young, Growing With, The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family, Sticky Faith Curriculum, Can I Ask That?, Deep Justice Journeys, Deep Justice in a Broken World, Deep Ministry in a Shallow World, and the Good Sex Youth Ministry Curriculum. Kara lives with her husband Dave and their three children, Nathan, Krista, and Jessica, in Southern California.


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