Dutch inventor Cornelius van Drebel is supposedly the inventor of the submarine early in the 17th Century. This, I’m sure you will agree, was an idea ahead of its time. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas; but not just any new idea. It has to be an authentic idea. In other words it has to be something that is practical, workable and of its time, what I like to call an elegant idea. When I learn of a good idea that I think will work the feeling I get is almost that of a light bulb switching on in my head! I love good ideas! I need you to know that, so that the next time I bring a bright idea to Church Council, you do at least know it is something that I have thought about!
That light bulb went off the other day. Someone was sharing with me a great project that they had developed in their church. They had invited the young people from the Youth group to teach the older people from the Fellowship group some new skills, and in return the older people taught the younger people some of their skills in return. I think the young people were teaching skills connected with smart phones and tablets computers and the older people were passing on their skills of sewing, cooking and baking. I loved the idea and it fitted in with something that has been on my mind in recent months, something that is referred to as Intergenerational church.
Church is one of the few groups in society that explicitly claims to be open to all, regardless of age, class, gender or any other distinction. Despite that we do seem to have a preponderance of older people and definitely more women than men. Of course, we do not have too many older people or too many women, we just would love to have more people from across the age ranges and a more accurate gender balance. Intergenerational church is all about bringing people together across the age ranges, about valuing everyone for who they are and the gifts they have to offer. And it’s about creating a family feel. We can only create a sense of family when we get to know one another and recognise each other’s skills and needs.
Unlike van Drebel’s first attempt at building a submarine, Intergenerational church is nothing new but perhaps it’s an idea whose time has come once again.
As we begin a new church year may you know God’s richest blessing at work in your life.