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Intergenerational ministry – embracing a child-like faith and getting a “big bit of Jesus”

By Rev. Josie Neuendorff, Children, Youth & Families Minister, Chermside Kedron Community Church.

Often, when I find myself gathered in community around Christ’s table, sharing in the mysterious yet nourishing meal of Holy Communion, I find myself remembering a valuable lesson a significant teacher taught me about 15 years ago.

It was not in theological college but in my local congregation. We were gathered around the table, and in that space, the tradition was to share using the intinction method. This particular Sunday, I was close to the front when my teacher came forward to participate. This then four-year-old boy ripped off a piece of bread, but somehow the piece was a lot larger than the typical 1cm cubed, and his eyes widened; he then dipped it into the grape juice before turning to return to his seat. As he turned, holding his bread proudly, somewhat like a fish he had just caught, he excitedly proclaimed that “I got a big bit of Jesus today!”

His excitement about sharing in communion was contagious, he displayed a deep sense of being blessed, and he spent the rest of the service snacking on his piece of communion bread.

Often, as I gather around the table, I remember my teacher and his encouragement to be open to God’s abundant blessings, and I find myself being challenged. In these moments, I reflect on how I am positioning myself for God’s unexpected gifts, and I ask questions about how I am experiencing God’s joy and what I am intentionally doing to share that with others.

I have treasured for many years the innate wisdom of this young boy and the enthusiasm he showed towards participating in a meal he did not fully understand, and I am constantly encouraged to do the same. I’m encouraged to embrace the mystery and to be overwhelmed by God’s Spirit.

This is a wonderful example of the power of intergenerational ministry; when we are open to what each other has to share, we can all be transformed. I wonder, what have you learned about God from someone much younger than yourself?

We all have the capacity to be teachers and sharers of God’s wisdom and revelation. One of the challenges of our life together is to be intentional in creating spaces where people from all ages and stages of faith can encourage and support each other as fellow disciples. I wonder, what could you try this week to help develop deeper intergenerational relationships in your faith community?

The upcoming discipleship workshop focusing on the Here 2 Stay framework will offer some practical ideas to support the development of intentional faith-enriching intergenerational discipleship practices.

Why not get a few people together from your congregation and join us in person or online as we explore this discipleship framework and consider how it might help your congregation be one that fashions lifelong followers of Jesus.

For more information, contact adminsupport@mrpres.org.au or register at https://bit.ly/H2SWorkshop



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