What is Cross+Generational Ministry?

Jump to:

What does “cross+gen” mean?
What do you mean by “generations”?
What is the difference between cross+generational, intergenerational, and multigenerational?
What is wrong with the old model of different ages going to their own Sunday school classes?
Why should we do it? What are the benefits of cross+generational ministry?
Where can we do cross+generational ministry?
What does Spirit & Truth Publishing provide to support cross+generational ministry?
What are some resources about cross+generational ministry?

 

What does “cross+gen” mean?

“Cross+Gen” is an abbreviated form of “cross+generational.” Cross+generational ministry is the work of faith formation that specifically focuses on building life-giving relationships between members of different generations.


Back to top

What do you mean by “generations”?

We use the term “generations” much like our culture does. A generation would be a collective term for all people born within a certain span of time. Some sociologists have taken to defining certain spans of times and naming them, such as the Greatest Generation, the Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, etc. While generational theory is a fascinating subject, our focus is just on people of different ages building relationships together.


Back to top

What is the difference between cross+generational, intergenerational, and multigenerational?

As we use the terms, cross+generational and intergenerational are synonyms. Both refer to the mixing of people of different ages together, building relationships. Often, the term “multigenerational” is used to refer to situations when people of different generations are in the same space, but are not necessarily interacting and building relationships. For example, a church service is multigenerational when children, youth, adults, and seniors are all sitting in the pews participating in worship. A church service is cross+generational (intergenerational) when those same people are sharing, working together, and learning from each other.


Back to top

What is wrong with the old model of different ages going to their own Sunday school classes?

Some will disagree with us, but we don’t necessarily believe that there is anything wrong with education or other experiences divided by ages. Connecting with people within your own age group can be a wonderful thing, and it also allows teachers to focus on the specific developmental levels of their students. However, so much of our world is divided by age that we are losing the richness and benefits people had when it was common to have three generations living in the same home. The young have much to learn from seniors and seniors have much to learn from the young, and this goes for all age groups. Some congregations have chosen to eliminate all age-level faith formation ministries and replace them with intergenerational ministries. Others have chosen to keep their traditional structure, and add extra opportunities (e.g. intergenerational mission trips) and/or added cross+generational elements to their worship service(s).


Back to top

Why should we do it? What are the benefits of cross+generational ministry?

The benefits of cross+generational ministry are many. In the book Generations Together (LifelongFaith Associates, 2014), Jim Merhaut says, “Five significant outcomes emerged from our survey of leaders in congregations engaged in intergenerational faith formation: (1) stronger families, (2) greater sense of community, (3) increased adult faith formation, (4) a safe learning environment, and (5) motivated learners.”[i] More information can be found on LifelongFaith’s website.


Back to top

Where can we do cross+generational ministry?

You can do cross+generational ministry anywhere! Christian education classes, worship services, service projects, mission trips, fellowship lunches, prayer groups, and more. Anywhere that people of different generations can interact is a cross+generational ministry opportunity. However, the most important place for faith formation, especially for children and youth, is the home.


Back to top

What does Spirit & Truth Publishing provide to support cross+generational ministry?

Currently, we offer four products for cross+generational ministry. Three of them are a part of our Living the Word (Narrative Lectionary) series (Cross+Gen Worship, Cross+Gen Education, and @ Home devotional bulletin inserts). Our fourth cross+generational product is also our newest: Chosen Together: A Cross+Generational Confirmation Experience. We hope to continue to expand our cross+generational offerings to support this important movement.


Back to top

What are some resources about cross+generational ministry?


Back to top

 

[i] Kathie Amidei, Jim Merhaut, and John Roberto, Generations Together: Caring, Praying, Learning, Celebrating & Serving Faithfully (LifelongFaith Associates: Naugatuck, CT, 2014) 83.