Fall in Colorado is a beautiful thing. Fall in Colorado with a team of ministry partners, thinking and dreaming together, is an even more beautiful thing.
In October, Pastor Dave Lyle, Julie Modrich, and Shawn Vogen accompanied me to the Cross+Gen Life Conference in Estes Park, Colorado. We were surrounded by breathtaking scenes of yellow aspen trees and mountain peaks, and we watched herds of wild elk roam the grounds of the conference center. There was so much to take in! But while the beauty of our surroundings would have been enough to amaze us, we were even more amazed by the content and experience of our conference together as we learned more about cross-generational ministry.
The Cross+Gen movement that caused us much amazement is a model that engages young and old in faith conversation and deepened relationships. It is an opportunity for us as Christians to become more authentic and Christ-centered in our care for one another. It is, I think, how God intends the Church to exist, and the only way in which the Church truly grows.
Cross+generational ministry is not a program to implement or a ministry fad with which to experiment; rather, it finds its roots in the very fundamental practice of gathering people of all ages and stages to share with, pray for, and bless one another in Jesus’ name.
As at most continuing education opportunities, I was in high-absorption mode at the Cross+Gen conference — fully present, taking notes, mentally processing every bit of information from every presenter. But this time, I had a team with whom to process aloud, and process we did! In fact, we were so excited about everything we were hearing and learning that one evening, we actually had to stop ourselves from talking about it so that our minds could rest! We talked about it when we were awake, when we ate, when we took walks, and before we went to bed. I wouldn’t be surprised if we all dreamed about it in our sleep!
Our excitement in Colorado reminds me of the way God called the Israelites to live in God’s love and to pass on the faith to future generations. When God gifts the Israelites with the commandments, the sum of them all is: Love the Lord your God and serve the Lord with all your heart and all your soul. Alongside this, God also instructs the Israelites: “You shall put these words of mine in your heart and soul, and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and fix them as an emblem on your forehead. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 11:18–19).
When I think of our call to teach God’s Word to our children and to talk about God’s Word throughout each day, I can’t help but think about our Cross+Gen team’s animated, never-ending processing, both during the conference and continuing since we’ve returned home. We are passionate about passing on the faith, and we are passionate about equipping and empowering people of all ages and stages to do the same!
Many of you have already experienced one of the ways in which we hope for our family of faith at Grace to deepen relationships with God and with one another. FAITH5, a devotional resource and practice, is being utilized in ministry team meetings, FEAST groups, youth group gatherings, and many households. If you haven’t already experienced it, you most likely will soon. Ask me for a helpful bookmark that guides you through FAITH5 at home! It is a simple way to bring greater depth to devotional practices or family prayers and to draw everyone closer to one another in faith.
There’s more to come. We don’t know what it looks like yet for Grace, but we do know that God has called us to teach and learn from our children and our elders and every generation in between, to share our lives with one another, to read Scripture and talk about it with one another, to pray for one another, to bless one another. And when we do these things, we end up passing on the stories of faith, readily noticing and talking about God when we are at home and when we are away, when we lie down and when we rise. Just as God has gifted and called us to do.
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