Intergenerational Ministry Starts

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Attending a Sustaining Congregational Excellence (SCE) learning event started ministry leaders from Overisel Christian Reformed Church, near Zeeland, Mich., dreaming about how to foster health in their congregation.

The result is an intergenerational ministry project being funded by an SCE health and renewal grant.

Overisel was looking for a creative way to get folks from different generations to connect on a deeper level. In the past youths and adults had engaged in service projects, but always with people from their own generations. Family ministry nights saw intergenerational interaction, but it wasn’t enough.

Working, playing, and dreaming together: intergenerational members of Overisel CRC

In August individuals from all age groups headed to Chicago for a few days of service to kick off the intergenerational ministry. They worked hard, and relationships blossomed. Rev. Steve Mulder reported, “We're having an absolutely outstanding service trip! Young and old are working together, there is harmony, and we're learning more about each other.”

Back in Overisel, the church formed more than 20 intergenerational groups to nurture relationships. The groups meet for supper and join in an activity and Bible study. Their goal is to develop greater spiritual maturity through relationships and have fun learning together.

While the project will wrap up in summer 2012, it will likely continue changing the culture of Overisel.

Since 2007, SCE has awarded 140 health and renewal grants to smaller congregations. Each congregation custom-designed  a project for its particular setting.

About the Author

Lis Van Harten is director of the Sustaining Pastoral and Congregational Excellence Programs (SPE and SCE).

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