One of the things that has come out of lockdown for me, has been the time spent with the family. We are now a family of adults, and as is the majority experience in Australia where I live, they live at home. Lockdowns have meant that we have all been spending a lot more time together, working from home, not being allowed out except for 2 hrs of exercise, or to do the grocery shopping (surprisingly no rush for that out). We have been eating together more frequently, no one is running in after an extend time at work, or running out to see friends, see movies, eat out etc. Though we usually regularly come together and dine out, giving everyone the opportunity to relax and just share. I have found that at home we have been sharing on a much deeper level. It has given me the opportunity to understand my children’s faith development better.
For quite a few years I have been saying that my children have no faith, but during this time I have had the opportunity to hear what they have taken on into adulthood, yes, they only attend church 3 times a year, but they do so not to please me but because it makes sense of the season better for them.
They can explain what Christianity is.
They know the Bible well.
They just don’t attend church regularly.
This knowledge has helped me rethink, not just the way I see my faith parenting, but also to broaden my questioning of why my children don’t want to attend church more regularly than 3 times a year.
Within the family, we can have faith discussions, now I am not saying that these table time discussions are even close to worship, but it does have that first century feel. Assembled together sharing food, information ( ie: a disciples letter in the first century) a You tube clip, a song, a tik tok post, a meme, and ourselves.
So, what is wrong with church? Yes, they can nit pick at this or that element, but I get the strong sense it is actually not what we do in the service, but rather who is at the service, or rather not at the service.
Their peers, are also only at church 3 times a year. My children I’ve discovered will have conversations with friends outside the church community about faith and spirituality in their day to day conversations. I admire this, I only have these types of discussions with churched people.
What is missing is connection, not to God, but to churched people.
This is where I feel the Intergen movement has something to offer. Intergenerational worship is about inclusion and connection. Not just in their peer levels but across the ages.
When I stop to think about my children’s experience of church, I only see this type of connection in the church we attended when my eldest child was younger. But no such connections were made with either their peers or other adults in the other two congregations we attended as they grew.
Personally, I always had strong adults in my life and in our congregations that I felt valued and led me. This has not been my children’s experience. Even now I am struggling as I find that those people are not in my congregation anymore and neither is there anyone whom I might influence. I, like my children, am struggling with personal connection, and though my pull for church is a response to God’s influence in my life, at present I am finding more of that connection at home than in the pews.
Today’s Old Testament reading (2 Samuel 7:1-14a) shares David’s excitement at wanting to give God a home. We learn in the Ephesians reading(Ephesians 2:11-22) that God is in us all. Call it Intergenerational worship but what we all need is not bricks and mortar but CONNECTION.
To God and then to other’s.
I am writing this on Wurundjeri land and wish to pay respect to all Elders, past, present and emerging.