I am currently working on a research paper for class focusing on the need for and importance of intergenerational connections throughout life but especially in communities of faith. As a minister to children and families, the more I study, the more convinced I am that we need to be asking the questions, “Why Intergenerational? And Why Now?”.
Consider this 2003 study by the Commission for Children at Risk that found when connections to others and to moral and spiritual meaning are weakened the results are significant; “the thinning out of social connectedness is contributing significantly to the range of childhood problems, including child abuse and adolescent depression, and conversely, that thickening the networks of meaningful relationships contributes significantly to better outcomes for children and youth” (Commission on Children at Risk, 2003, p. 43).
Where better than the church to rehabilitate these connections?
What better place to engage multiple generations in relationship with each other around the heart of faith and spirituality?
Where else do multiple generations gather each week and are provided with the chance to “thicken” those networks of meaningful relationships?
We, the Church, have the unique opportunity to break down barriers of age and spatial segregation and build relationships with one another that span generations and bring together communities.
“Intergenerational relationships grow everyone young by breaking the silos of age- and stage-based ministry.”
Dr. K. Powell, J. Mulder, B. Griffen, Growing Young as quoted today in The Washington Post
Recently, I’ve been asked to share some of the research and studies that I have used in writing my blogs and developing my heart for family and intergenerational ministry. The following is a brief overview of some of the top studies, articles, and research I’ve used to formulate my ideas and share my heart with all of you.
The Research behind Intergenerational Worship
One of the first longitudinal studies done on youth in regard to church attendance post high school once the Millennial decline became apparent was done by Fuller Youth Institute in 2006-2010 and they released their findings here. Primarily, their research found three things:
1. While most U.S. churches focus on building strong youth groups, teenagers also need to build relationships with adults of all ages.
2. Churches and families overestimate youth group graduates’ readiness for the struggles ahead with dire consequences for the faith
3. While teaching…
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