Let's just be honest. It's not natural for teens and 70 somethings to enjoy the same approach to worship music. It's not "normal" for stay at home moms to minister alongside young single girls. It's completely hilarious to watch this 40 something try to be "cool" enough to teach preteen kids in bible study. It's even less likely to see retired great grandmothers encouraging elementary kids to dance (yes I'm Baptist and I said the "d" word) during VBS worship rally, much less to see them doing it themselves!
A multigenerational approach to church requires submission on everyone's part. (Yes, I also just used the "s" word. Wait, isn't that what you call it at your house too? When McKinney's refer to the "s" word, we really mean submission. That's how much we LOVE that word!)
I've experienced many sweet moments of multigenerational church in my 23 years of ministry, but none sweeter than what I was a part of this week. This past week was Vacation Bible School at First Baptist Church in Lee's Summit and I was allowed to direct the preteen class. It was my third year to direct this class, and as director I get to pick who works with me. Every year I pick the same two people...Thorville Rygaard and Joan Glowa.
Here's part of our group with Thorville...
And here's part of the group with Joan on the front left...
Thorville is 84 years old, a retired engineer! I've decided that he's pretty much always been brilliant! And get this, he tells the students to call him "THOR"! Is that awesome or what? Joan is 77 years old. She is a retired teacher, loves to study the bible and travel, and is passionate about leading people to Christ! She is a spit fire if I've ever known one! Both Joan and Thorville (who are not married to each other!) have traveled to over 100 countries, mostly on mission trips!
I also get to have at least one teenager with the preteens. This year I was so blessed to have Alyssa Gann! Alyssa is 15. She is the best soccer player I've ever known and she is drop dead gorgeous! She's hilarious and I adore her! She's learning more and more about the bible every day and it's so exciting to watch!
Here's Alyssa (in the center) with her friend Sara (who Alyssa brought 2 days this week) with one of our students!
On Tuesday THOR taught the kids about how Paul had to be rescued from Caesarea by being lowered out of the city wall in a basket. He brought maps and talked history and the students ATE IT UP!!! On Thursday, Joan will share about Paul and I absolutely guarantee that she will have a story about having traveled to wherever Paul was in her part of the study. In fact, both she and THOR told the students about how they had both walked on Straight Street on the way to Damascus where Paul's blinding conversion took place. That kind of experience and wisdom and first person excitement happens only because these multiple generations do life together at FBCLS! Alyssa and I sat in amazement as we watched 12 year olds talk bible with these older saints! I'm still over the moon about it!
Not only do we have a boat load of senior adults at FBCLS who, just like THOR and Joan, haven't retired from hands on ministry, we also have tons of adults and teenagers who dive into full on kids' ministry! We are definitely not a huge church, as these numbers will show, but check out the note Blake passed me yesterday afternoon.
This is a breakdown of our numbers for VBS for the week. Now obviously we weren't too high tech with this, and again we aren't a mega church, but do you see the leader to kid ratio?! We had 110 workers and 165 kids! That's astounding to me! It's one more reason I love my church, and I'm convinced Jesus is pleased with how we are serving Him together! Besides, VBS is so much fun, who wants to miss it??
Here are a few more examples of how my church thrives in the middle of multigenerational ministry.
This is Hannah! I am so privileged to get to hang with Hannah and mentor her! She has so many talents and is the sweetest teenage girl I know. She loves Jesus and can play some mean volleyball and cello! She's also an amazing hair braider! She texted me Friday to see if Sarah would like for her to braid her hair! Sarah and I arrived a little early and Hannah braided her hair in Dad's office! In this way, Sarah is learning from Hannah! That's multigenerational!
This is one of my favorite college students, Davis! He is a serious quarterback who played for the Razorbacks for the past two years and is about to transfer to SBU in Bolivar! He spent the entire week teaching 3rd graders! And please check out Joan photobombing!!
And this is Jillian! Jillian is a 5th grader who played the part of the cool, courageous, Colossal Coaster Kid in worship rally this week! Sarah adores her and she is loves to be her friend! Even kids can minister to kids!
So there is absolutely no age limit to ministry!