Today's guest blogger is Alan Mercer, pastor of middle school ministries at Christ Community Church in Leawood, KS. Christ Community is part of our 2011 Sticky Faith Cohort.
As we have wrestled with the concept of Sticky Faith in our context, the importance of intergenerational worship has risen to the top of our list of adjustments to make. Like so many churches, we have enjoyed years of great age appropriate and age segmented ministry. These individual ministries have been amazing and have been effective in many ways. However, in the past few years, we have noticed an increase in the number of students who refer to the student ministry programming as their church. In fact, some have stated their parents go to “Christ Community” but they themselves go to “encounter” or another youth program.
We see the corporate worship service as playing a significant part in our efforts to begin to more holistically incorporate our students into the life of the body. For this reason, we have cancelled our Sunday morning student programs for about 12 weeks of our year. These cancellations force our families to attend corporate worship together where our students have the chance to meet more adults and feel more a part of our congregation. In addition, it gives our adults a great chance to meet students and be positively impacted by their energy, spirit, and youthful zeal. It is definitely a two way street and a win-win situation.
We have chosen to focus our time around Advent and Lent, cancelling four or five weeks in a row for each of these two seasons. We’ve also taken the opportunity around Spring Break and July 4 to cancel. These windows offer us a balance of age appropriate ministry while holding up the significant value of being together as a corporate body.
Has this been easy? No! Has there been resistance? Yes! Is it worth it? You bet! We look forward to where we are going and what awaits us.