A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to hear a story from a church that captures the heart of ReFocus Ministry and I just had to share it with you. Like many churches in 2020, this church had struggled to regain a sense of community and were feeling the impact of generational gap in tangible ways. Young people were not returning. Older people were isolated. Everyone was feeling the strain of separation.
Upon contacting ReFocus Ministry and beginning the coaching program, it became obvious that there were quite a few barriers integrated into their church culture that kept the generations from forming relationships with one another. They decided to focus on one area in particular: Extracurricular activities. That’s right – sports and drama and spelling bees and choir performances and tee ball tournaments. You see, they discovered that many of their children and youth were involved in these things and that they and their parents faithfully showed up at these events and this church decided, it was high time they showed up there too.
They placed a bulletin board in a main gathering area and invited parents and kids to post schedules of their upcoming events. And then, the older Sunday School classes committed to visiting that bulletin board and taking turns amongst the members committing to showing up in these spaces.
It was a rocky start. New things often are. However, it didn’t take long as the weather warmed up and people could get outside and into bleachers and stadiums for the movement to gain momentum.
By the end of summer, this church could be found all over town at ball games and ballet recitals, cheering on their kids and youth, sitting in the bleachers with parents, and even running concession stands a local softball games.
By fall, the church was abuzz with activity and connection. People spoke one’s another’s names. They greeted each other in the hallways and high-fived over home runs and scored goals. They commiserated over losses and shared stories of “When I was a kid…”. Family Sundays were no longer an exercise in tolerating the presence of kids; instead, kids were invited to sit with their cheerleaders and their biggest fans -the older members of their church.
The result? Relationships.
The bigger result? Everyday discipleship in the context of community.
This is what ReFocus is all about. Our mission statement says we exist to “connect generations at church and at home.” But that is not the end goal. The end goal is to create a community characterized by relationships centered around Christ for the glory of God.
We can dissect all the reasons that young people are leaving the church until we are blue in the face. Or we can begin to build relationships and community right now that will ensure deep roots and faith formation that lasts a lifetime.
As we move into the new year, let’s reimagine what church together can look like. Let’s identify the barriers that keep us apart and inhibit generational discipleship and let’s embrace the beautiful invitation to worship and work as a community of faith, all ages, all stages, as one body.
An Invitation to Join the Mission of ReFocus
In November, we announced that ReFocus was beginning the journey to become a full-fledged nonprofit. As we work to take ReFocus from an individual operation to one that can make a bigger impact in our faith communities, we are beginning the work of funding the ministry.
To that end, we invite you to be a part of our initial fundraising campaign. In our initial phase, we are hoping to raise $10,000.00 which will be used to create the foundation and infrastructure needed to begin expanding the reach and ministry of ReFocus. These monies will go directly to creating the means by which to allow ReFocus to create more resources, materials, and trainings for churches as well as begin to put the pieces in place to add additional speakers, trainers, and ministers to our staff. We have already raised $6,000 towards our inital goal!
There are two main ways to give:
- Through our website: www.refocusministry.org (Click the Donate button). This will allow you to set up a one-time donation or a monthly gift.
- Personal Check: ReFocus Ministry c/o Christina Embree, 3518 Ramsgate Ct. Lexington KY 40503
Note: Since we have not yet received our tax-exempt status due to paperwork delays at the federal level, these initial gifts will not be tax deductible.
At ReFocus, we believe if we really want to see our church families grow and our younger generations stay faithful to Jesus, we are going to have to find ways to come together, in community, and be the church across generations.
To learn more about ReFocus and what we can do for you and your faith community, fill out the contact form below!
For more information about…
- Kids in Worship
- Determining which Type of Family Ministry model works best for your church
- Discipleship in Intergenerational community
- Encouraging the continued conversation through Practical Discipleship at Home
- Seminars, Workshops, Coaching
About this Blog
Refocus Ministry was started by Christina Embree, wife to Pastor Luke, mom to three wonderful kids, and church planter at Plowshares BIC. She also serves as the Minister of Generational Discipleship with the Great Lakes Conference of the Brethren in Christ.
With years of experience in family ministry and children’s ministry, she is passionate about seeing churches partnering with families to encourage faith formation at home and equipping parents to disciple their kids in the faith. She recently graduated with a Masters of Arts in Ministry focusing on Family, Youth and Children’s Ministry at Wesley Seminary, she also blogs at www.refocusministry.org and is a contributing blogger at D6 Family, ChurchLeaders.com, and Seedbed.