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January 10, 2019

Worship for All Ages

Written by: Julia Smolucha

 

 

By The Reverend Dr. William A. Evertsberg

Perhaps you have heard Katie Lancaster or Silvi Pirn use the phrase “Sticky Faith,” which means exactly what it says: Sticky Faith is faith which sticks with you your whole life long even when your parents don’t make you go to church anymore.

The folks at the Fuller Youth Initiative, an organization related to Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, wanted to know what practices during a person’s childhood and youth produced a sticky faith in adulthood, and after thousands of interviews and four years of research, the Fuller Youth Initiative discovered that regular worship together as a family might be the most important such practice.

Not when the family drives to church together and then veers off in divergent directions when they arrive, mom and dad to the big looming sanctuary and kids to the smaller learning atmosphere of the classroom, but when the whole family is singing, praying, hearing the word, and praising God together.

The Fuller folks also discovered that Christian mentors for young people produce sticky faith.  Older, non-family adults who take an interest in young people’s sports, school plays, and classroom exploits help to shape robust young disciples.

For this reason, congregations emphasizing cross-generational worship are not only thriving in the present, because that’s what parents want for their children, but creating a lively, faithful future by nurturing the church’s leaders of the next generation.

We’re making a few small changes to our 9 a.m. worship to make it more accessible for people of all ages.

  • young acolytes will bear the fire of Christ to the altar
  • children and families will pray the prayers and read the scriptures
  • liturgical language will be understandable for all ages and repeated week to week for a whole season of the church year to maximize familiarity
  • children’s chatter and energy will be welcome
  • we will aim for a slightly briefer, 45-minute worship
  • no church clothes necessary
  • children first-grade and younger can stay for the entire worship or proceed to the Children’s Chapel to hear God’s story in an age-appropriate way

The 10:30 a.m. worship will remain the same. People of all ages will always be welcome then too, but many families will choose to send young people to Sunday School classes for that whole hour.

Kenilworth Union is fortunate to have a large enough constituency to offer three alternative worship experiences most Sunday mornings; only large churches can make this happen. We hope you will attend the 9 a.m. worship to see if it might usher you into the presence of God.