"The mingling of innocence and maturity, playfulness and reverence creates a bold and bigger vision of the church as the body of Christ."
All God's Children: The Church Family Gathers for Lent
A 5-week series which any church can use as a program during Lent. The resource comes from GenOn Ministries, which specializes in quality intergenerational church resources. This Biblically based program brings together all ages to learn, play, eat, and pray.
To preview and purchase this series, click here: GenOn Ministries - All God's Children
As the introduction explains, "All God's Children" is more than just a quick talk or study that you pair with a meal. Rather, each session offers fully developed learning, prayer time, reflection, and activities. A standard session might look like the following:
1. Eating together (with menu, table decorations and prayer)
2. Playing together (choices of crafts, games, and other fun activities)
3. Studying God’s Word together and telling the story (including questions for conversation)
4. Praying together, singing, closing litany (music and prayer suggestions included)
The five sessions are the series are as follows:
Week 1: The Temptation of Jesus in the Wilderness
Week 2: Jesus Teaches Nicodemus
Week 3: Jesus Talks with a Samaritan Woman at the Well
Week 4: Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind
Week 5: The Death of Lazarus
The curriculum writers explain:
"Many faith communities are discovering the joy when all ages join together on the spiritual journey. The mingling of innocence and maturity, playfulness and reverence creates a bold and bigger vision of the church as the body of Christ. Intergenerational events provide opportunities for building relationships with God, relationships with the church community, and a chance to open wide the arms of Christ to every person.
Church programs often separate people by age for education and fellowship activities. All God’s Children: The Church Family Gathers is designed to meet the need for generations to learn and grow together, bridging the gaps in our church experience. The intergenerational gatherings in this resource are intended to allow all ages to eat together, play together, study God’s Word together, pray, sing and worship together. Each learning time is a celebration that is worshipful and each worship event is educational. We recommend that you invite people of every age level to participate and that all feel equally welcome and included."
Practical Tips for Using this Series
Plan ahead alert: this program requires you to have forced flower bulbs! Use a reputable nursery to buy your bulbs and ask their advice for bulbs that will grow in the time allotted. You may also want to grow extras, just in case the program bulb(s) don't grow in a timely manner. This is a great opportunity to ask for help from the gardeners in your congregation.
A nice way to connect the growth experienced by your Lenten group with the celebration of Christ's resurrection would be to present or include the flowers as part of your Easter morning worship.
Meals, activities, and scripture all fit together. Please note that recipes included are for small, family sizes and will need to be scaled up accordingly. Give yourself enough time to think about and prepare the activities for each week. You may want to come up with some of your own, in the same vein as the ones printed in the curriculum.
As with any resource, it is a good idea to read through and think through how this resource reflects your denominational understanding of the topic.
GenOn Ministries provides resources, consultation, and programming for churches. They believe that an abundant life-giving relationship with Jesus Christ is the most important thing in life, and that nurturing people, especially youth and children, into this abundant life-giving relationship with God through Jesus Christ is the most important thing the church ever does.