At the end of September, I went to a conference sponsored by Lyngblomsten—the health care and housing complex a few blocks away from Como Park Lutheran Church. It was held at North Heights Lutheran Church and featured two professors that I’ve taken classes from at Luther Seminary, Prof. Emeritus Rev. Dr. Janet Ramsey and the Director of Children, Youth and Family Dr. Terri Elton.
The focus was on intergenerational ministry—how does youth and family meet senior ministry.
Think about where you are in your life. Are you in the first 1/3—that is, under 30? Are you in the last 1/3—over 60? Maybe you’re in the middle. What stereotypes or generalizations do you make about the other two? Are people too young and don’t have enough experience? Are people too old and too resistant to change?
There has to be a balance. Dr. Elton said that “if there’s too much change, there’s not enough grounding. If there’s too much tradition, creativity is squelched.” It is inappropriate to assume that elder members are not creative, and it’s inappropriate to assume that younger members don’t care about tradition.
When it came time to picture what an inter-generational congregation might look like, I thought about some of the things going on here at Como Park Lutheran—faith mentors for confirmation, and the youth group participating in the E-100 Bible study. There is already work being done to bring people together.
But can we do more? Can we embrace the wisdom and care of our elders? Can we appreciate the enthusiasm and curiosity of our youth? Can we work harder and be more intentional to seek it out and bring ourselves together?
I like what I’ve seen in my short time here—people caring for people and coming together; seniors who share their wisdom and are looked up to with respect; youth who regularly sing the liturgy and participate in worship.
As Dr. Elton said, learning faith is like learning a 2nd language—it comes more naturally when you are immersed in it. Fortunately, this goes both ways—those to learn and those to teach. At CPLC, there is an abundance of both.