Intergenerational Christian Formation - Bringing the Whole Church Together in Ministry, Community and Worship

Intergenerational Christian Formation - Bringing the Whole Church Together in Ministry, Community and Worship

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"One generation commends your works to another; they tell of your mighty acts." -Psalm 145:4
Most churches and faith communities segment their ministries by age and generation. The kids go to children's church, the teens go to youth group. Worship services are geared toward different generational preferences, and small groups gather people at the same life stage, whether singles, young marrieds, parents, or empty nesters. In some congregations, people may never interact with those of other ages.
But it was not always so. Throughout biblical tradition and the majority of history, communities of faith included people of all ages together in corporate worship, education, and ministry. The church was not just multigenerational; it was intergenerational, with the whole church together as one family and people of all ages learning from one another in common life.
In this comprehensive text, Holly Allen and Christine Lawton offer a complete framework for intentional intergenerational Christian formation. They provide the theoretical foundations for intergenerationality, showing how learning and spiritual formation are better accomplished through intergenerational contexts. It is not just elders teaching youth; learning also takes place when adults discover fresh insights from children. Then the authors give concrete guidance for intergenerational praxis on how worship, learning, community, and service can all be achieved intergenerationally. Case studies of intergenerational congregations provide models for how a culture of intergenerationality can be created in local churches.
This volume serves as an essential guide for all preparing for and involved in congregational ministry and formation. Discover the riches of intergenerational ministry, and let all generations commend the works of God to one another.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 330 pages
  • 154 x 229 x 23mm | 478g
  • Inter-Varsity Press,US
  • Illinois, United States
  • English
  • 083083981X
  • 9780830839810
  • 96,266

Table of contents


Venturing into Intergenerationality: Our Stories


Part One: Generational Realities

1. What Is the Problem?

2. How Did We Get Here? Why Churches Tended to Separate the Generations

3. Why Bring the Generations Back Together? The Benefits of Intergenerationality

4. What Shall We Name This Approach?

Part Two: Biblical, Theological and Theoretical Support

5. Feasts, Jehoshaphat and House Churches: Biblical Foundations

6. Growing Each Other Up: Theoretical Foundations

7. Midwives, Tailors and Communities of Practice: Learning Theory

8. The Trinity, Koinonia and the Body: Theological Foundations

Part Three: Support from the Social Sciences

9. Becoming Christian in Community: "Religious Socialization"

10. The Very Old and the Very Young: Contributions from Gerontology

11. Millennials, Xers, Boomers and Silents: Generational Theory

12. By the Numbers: Empirical Research

Part Four: Intergenerational Christian Formation Practices

13. Creating a Culture of Intergenerationality

14. Intergenerational Worship

15. Intergenerational Learning Experiences

16. Intergenerationality and Story Sharing

17. Intergenerational Service and Missions

18. Intergenerational Small Groups

19. Cross-Generational Relationships in Multicultural Churches

20. Intergenerationality and Megachurches


Appendix A: Forty Intergenerational Ideas

Appendix B: Intergenerational Ministry Resources

Appendix C: Biblical Passages that Reflect an Intergenerational Outlook


Author Index

Subject Index

Scripture Index
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Review quote

As many North American churches find themselves in turmoil due to age-divided congregations, I believe Intergenerational Christian Formation is a must read.--Russel Doerksen, The Messenger, July 2013
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About Holly Catterton Allen

Holly Catterton Allen (PhD, Talbot School of Theology) is professor of family science and Christian ministries at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee, where she holds a joint appointment in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Bible and Ministry. She teaches undergraduate courses such as Nurturing Spiritual Development in Children and Family Ministry and has previously taught at John Brown University, Biola University, and Abilene Christian University. Allen's areas of scholarly interest are children's spirituality and intergenerational issues. She is the author of InterGenerate: Transforming Churches through Intergenerational Ministry, coauthor (with Christine Ross) of Intergenerational Christian Formation, and editor of Nurturing Children's Spirituality: Christian Perspectives and Best Practices. She leads two national, ecumenical conferences: the Children's Spirituality Summit and InterGenerate that currently meet in alternating years at Lipscomb University. She has published articles in Christian Education Journal, Lutheran Education, Lifelong Faith, Christian Scholar's Review, and Christianity Today along with chapters in several books. Allen is married to Dr. Leonard Allen and they have three adult children and four grandchildren. Christine Lawton (PhD, St. Louis University) is currently the executive director of teacher programming at PathLight International. Her background includes professor/director of Christian education at Concordia University in Irvine, California, congregational youth and adult ministry, inner-city teaching and international education consulting. She is also the author of several Bible studies and Sunday school curriculum resources. She particularly enjoys intergenerational, international, multi-cultural, Christian education or beach-oriented activities.
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