Being part of a family includes loving and nurturing members of all ages and faith stages.
First Christian Reformed Church in Denver, Colo., lives this out. The congregation of more than 300 members has been creating “family” through intergenerational study for over a decade. Impacting every corner of the church, the practice is now foundational to congregational life. The all-ages curriculum developed by staff is delivered in Grow Groups—multigenerational gatherings where members of all ages are encouraged to participate.
“It is a fantastic picture of the kingdom and the intimate nature of family sharing life together,” said Bret Lamsma, faith formation pastor at First CRC Denver.
On Sundays set aside for intergenerational interaction—about every four to six weeks—the worship service focuses on a given theme. Past years have centered on the Psalms or other Scripture, including a time for group memorization, hearing a sermon, then enjoying a meal and discussion. A recent theme was “Songs We Sing.” Congregants shared personal testimonies about God’s goodness or faithfulness—or of loss and lament—followed by songs connected to the people sharing.
A grade school student wrote a letter explaining why a certain song was meaningful; the letter was read during the service. Several middle school students have made profession of faith during these services and have shared stories of God’s provision. High school students have shared different experiences and favorite songs, as have college students, young parents, new members, and older members. Sharing in this way has fostered an appreciation for others’ musical tastes and backgrounds: from traditional hymns to gospel songs, from children’s Sunday school songs to modern praise and worship tunes.
Visitors to the church are also welcomed into the multi-generational learning time. Grow Groups meet after Sunday morning worship service, often in members’ homes, but one group always meets at the church to accommodate visitors.