This past Sunday I was privileged to be a part of and witness one of the clearest pictures of the significance from intergenerational discipleship and investment I have ever seen.
Normally this is a Sunday where ministry directors say their last words of encouragement, challenge, and inspiration to their graduation class. I knew I wanted to speak to our grads about their identity in Christ and in our family of faith. I feel such an urgency to speak of this because of its truthful significance in my own life as well as the clearness of the research Fuller Youth Institute has released in their Sticky Faith material. We have seen and heard stories backed that tells us that within the first two weeks of our seniors’ post-high school ventures they will accept labels, friendships, and social circles that will largely shape the next four years of their life.
As I was preparing for Sunday, in a moment of Spirit-filled creativity, I had this idea. I would read Ephesians one, a passage saturated in truthful description of who we are in Christ, to our seniors. At the same time I would have our church body participate in holding cardboard signs of each word of identity description Paul uses.
It was a beautiful moment to have FOURTY-ONE people from our congregation ranging in ages from my daughter who is 2 to their past Sunday School teachers who are in their 60’s and 70’s. After I was done reading this passage we had our senior’s stand, we prayed for them, then everyone holding a sign walked out and gave it to a graduate with this picture attached to it.
It is a word cloud of Ephesians One on top of our seniors sharing their wisdom to our underclassmen on their last night of high school youth group.
All I had to do that morning was read scripture & remind them who they are in Christ and in Community. The strength of this morning was found in the imagery of the intergenerational connectedness that these kids have with the church and that the church has with our kids.
I’m thankful for Fuller Youth Institute, Kara Powell and Sticky Faith, for allowing us to be blessed by their research and creativity which really has helped our church emphasize and celebrate our intergenerational investments. Also, and ultimately, thankful for our church. Nearly half the people who were holding signs volunteered on their way into the sanctuary. It was a beautiful picture of who we are as a church, the body of Christ, and a family who walks together in raising and discipling all generations of believers!