Creating Spaces Where Generations Collide

By Stacy Kutz
Families and Youth Director

I was thrilled when Pastor Laurie asked me to lead a discussion last Sunday during the middle hour about West Side’s desire to be an intergenerational church. As I was preparing, I realized that from the start we needed to define the difference between multigenerational and intergenerational church.

Many of us grew up in multigenerational churches. Churches not only had children, teens, parents, and grandparents sitting in the same sanctuary, but had programming for each of them: church school for kids, youth group for teens, and Bible studies for adults. This model for church was adapted from schools, where children and teens are separated by age.

Fewer churches, however, are intergenerational. Intergenerational churches are those that are intentional about bringing different generations together and cultivating a culture in which faith in God is nurtured and relationships are fostered as all ages learn and grow, serve, and worship together.

Being an intergenerational church is recognizing that relationships have a more lasting impact than programs. It is a way of life—being God's family in a way that values, equips, and includes all ages. There is a deep sense of belonging. When we look around on a Sunday morning, we see people of all ages who expect us to be there and miss us when we’re not.

In Acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-35, we see that the early Christian church lived as an intergenerational community, worshiping and praying together, eating in each other’s homes, and sharing belongings. Following this example, our church is striving to be a faith community in which “one generation commends [God’s] works to another” (Ps. 145:4). We are a family made up of people of all ages who live into and live out of God’s story together.

So… what does this look like? The first word that popped into my mind is messy followed quickly by beautiful. Some ideas:


I read something long ago that has stuck with me over time. View your weekly worship service as a family reunion of God’s people. Where we gather as one body to praise God, find rest in God, be reminded of our hope in God, hear our call from God, and leave equipped by God.

Intergenerational worship is worship in which all members of our family, no matter the age, are understood to be equally important. This requires intentionality as we recognize that all ages have the same significance before God and in the worshiping congregation.

Intergenerational Connect Groups

Chaotic. Simple and sweet. Profoundly moving. Purposeful.

These groups can follow several different formats. Recently, David Brenner’s Sunday Connect Group launched a new families Connect Group during Lent. His group hosted a “new families group” by providing the meeting location, meal, and children’s teaching while the parents gathered to delve into God’s Word and the Connect Guides. I had firsthand reports on how this was going from my 2-year-old grandson… who absolutely is in LOVE with “Patty Laurlie”. The connections that families made have been evident when kids are picked up from Sunday school… it is such a joy to have the hallways full of noise and people.


When people of all ages have opportunities to serve together locally and/or globally, helping others, seeking justice, and sharing God’s love, wonderful things start to happen:

  • All ages recognize that as followers of Jesus they are called by God to serve others and seek justice and that they are equipped by God to serve in ways that are valuable and important.
  • Busy families spend quality time living out their faith together.
  • Relationships are built, generation gaps narrow, and a sense of teamwork is fostered.
  • There is something about organic, side-by-side conversations that brings about honesty, growth and deeper relationships.

Intentionally creating spaces where generations collide opens us up to deeper relationships and to experience the different ways God has been faithful in our lives