What is cross-generational ministry? I’m realizing this is an important question for me to not only ask as well as answer, but to keep asking and keep answering with consistency. If I’m not constantly sharing stories and facilitating the conversation about cross-generational ministry at Good Shepherd, some people may be left feeling confused, invisible, and neglected. Obviously, that is the not the goal of cross-generational ministry.
What then is the goal? I think that’s where a lot of the confusion I’m witnessing lies, especially with the staff role of Director, Cross-Generational Ministries. Am I essentially a program director, but instead of just coordinating youth programs, in addition I’m also the children’s, young adult, single adult, family, empty-nester, and senior-adult ministry director? Although I’m here to support each of those ministries as I’m able, saying I have the skill set to wear all those hats would be a lie. I simply do not possess all the gifts, or the time and energy, to serve in that capacity. Thankfully, that is not what cross-generational ministry is.
As Director, Cross-Generational Ministry, the main goal of my role is not to build-up generational silos (though I support and recognize value in generation-specific ministries). In fact, what I believe to be my purpose here is kind of the opposite. According to Marilyn Sharpe of Vibrant Faith Ministries, cross-generational ministries…
- are rooted in relationships
- Shower each generation with the gifts, wisdom, and stories of other generations
- Build understanding
- Take down the walls between us
- Are profoundly faithful to what God is up to with all of us.
This rich, faith-forming ministry is done through mentoring, celebrating milestone blessings together, practicing faith in the home as a family, servant experiences open to multiple generations, building relationships at cross-generational SME events as well as intentional youth ministry events, and worshiping together in a space that allows us all to share our unique gifts and version of God’s image with one another. In true cross-generational ministry, none are invisible or neglected because all are important and needed.