By Melinda Shunk
Children's Ministry Coordinator
Intergenerational worship is important to in-person worship, and I would say even more important as we venture into online worship.
You may be asking yourself, “What is intergenerational worship?” Sarah Flannery writes in her new book “Children and Family Ministry Handbook” (cokesbury.com), “Intergenerational ministry is not synonymous with church or congregation. Intergenerational ministry is church plus intentional mixing of generations in the areas of worship, discipleship, and service. While an intergenerational church will offer some events exclusively for families and some exclusively for non-families, its primary worship service will include everyone.”
When a variety of ages take part in leading worship on Sunday, it increases active engagement in worship. Congregation members tend to fall into a rote routine of pastor and musicians.
Intergenerational worship allows each new voice and perspective to enrich worship for all.
Worship online is no different. We can ask all ages of members to record themselves as they read scripture from home, pray, give a children’s sermon, play a prelude, offer a blessing, or sing a benediction.
Please don’t feel you have to be a technology expert. You should utilize all-age members in your church who do have the gift and resources of technology to help you integrate those videos into your worship. If you do want to give it a try yourself, you may want to try the app InShot on your phone for an easy first video edit.
Recently, Michelle Wilkins at Hot Springs First United Methodist Church asked parents to record their child saying a part of the Lord’s Prayer. Each parent gladly recorded and sent the video clip to her by the end of the day. She then dropped the recording into a video editing application on her phone.
Michelle is a Children’s Minister who often organizes intergenerational worship and because it was a video recording, four of the children who would not normally have agreed to pray in front during worship said yes to the video. The Rev. Bill Sardin played the video during online worship. It was a beautiful way to include a new group of children who have never prayed during worship for the whole church.
The Lord’s Prayer video clip is a creative way to take intergenerational worship to an online platform. We are ministering in a time where if you wanted to try something you have never done before, now is your chance. You may end up drawing even more people to your church since people can share on social media what they have taken part in that day.
To summarize a quote from Sarah Flannery, your intergenerational online video integration would be checking all the boxes for worship, discipleship, and service.