Jonathan Richardson, Children, Youth & Families Development Officer explains more:
“As churches emerge from Covid restrictions, our survey shows that many are seeing reduced engagement from families, decreased volunteers, uncertainty and lack of energy for ministry amongst families.“ (FAMILIES, FAITH & COVID-19 Research Project 2022)
Unsurprisingly the research identifies a shift in focus for many families with them looking for more meaningful relational connections, rather than more services or events. Throughout the pandemic, it has been the loss of relational connections that many have struggled with most. What is the main difference between an online service and a physical one? Probably the time to build relationships with people.
Young people have been no exception to this. As churches start to emerge from the pandemic and re-look at how they can reach and support families in their communities, we should focus on ways to build and support intergenerational relationships – both in church and in families.
There are two particular trends that I would encourage churches to investigate. The first is Intergenerational Church, which encourages an approach to church that recognises the unique gifts those of different generations can bring and the power of intergenerational relationships. The second is about finding ways to support faith in families.
A description I heard recently was that ‘Church should be for all ages, all abilities and all the glorious variety of humanity’ – in order to realise that we need to be very intentional about what we do. Previously we might have had separate children’s and youth groups during church, but during the pandemic, many church families will have sat together and participated together – how can we model that in the church today?
There is never a silver bullet in children, youth & families ministry but what we do know is that it is really important to involve young people in the life of the church and support families sharing faith at home.
We are really excited to have Lauren Sheath from Parenting for Faith and a team from St Marks Church Grimsby who will be sharing their learning on intergenerational church, running seminars at our ‘One Big Day’ Conference on Saturday 30 April.
Find out about these and other speakers that we have lined up here.