'The concept of "intergenerational issues" is often spoken of as a deviation from "normal," a concept and words of the wrong worldview. From [God's] point of view we must see "generational streaming" as the deviation from "normal"!' Thus one Christian leader astutely commented to me during my research on intergenerational processes in Christian faith communities. That was some years ago, but the validity of the insight--like the Scriptures from which the leader drew that perspective--is enduring. So it is most encouraging to read Holly Allen and Christine Ross's new take on this focus in their Intergenerational Christian Formation. Whether readers are those who sense that God's heartbeat for his special community is about inclusiveness in how Christians express their lives together--and indeed, the corporate life of the faith communities themselves--or skeptics willing to come to the topic with an open mind, this book is likely to be a life-giver, as it draws together broad insights to reinforce that the intergenerational perspective can be held with integrity, and also as it provides a wide range of examples and practical ideas to enable effective practice.
dean of AGST Alliance, a postgraduate theological education venture in Southeast Asia, and a passionate proponent of intergenerationalism in Christian faith communities
Allen and Ross have opened up a critical issue for thoughtful ministry leaders to consider. We have recognized for some time the strengths and limitations of age-segregated ministry but not had strong advocates to help us consider ways to strengthen our ministry efforts through intergenerational approaches. This book is a welcome guide to show us the needs, consider the biblical foundations for intergenerational ministry and learn from recent research about how people grow in their interactions with others from different generations. The final section on intergenerational Christian formation practices is worth the price of the whole book. If you care about the Christian formation of children, youth and adults in your church, you have to read this book and begin to put into practice what you have learned!
-Dr. Kevin E. Lawson,
director, Ph.D. and Ed.D. programs in educational studies at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, and editor of the Christian Education Journal
Holly Allen and Christine Ross make a strong case for the importance of intergenerational ministry. They then follow this up with stories, examples and specific ideas for how to make intergenerational ministry happen in churches large or small. This book is a valuable resource for anyone in ministry.
-Robert J. Keeley,
professor of education, Calvin College, author of Helping Our Children Grow in Faith
The authors have done a superb job making the case for the importance of intergenerational ministry in our churches. And the practical suggestions make it doable for every church. This book belongs on every pastor's bookshelf.
-Ivy Beckwith, Ph.D.,
author of Postmodern Children's Ministry
Christine Ross and Holly Allen genuinely believe in the intergenerational nature of the church, the people of God at every age together. They lay out an excellent vision for rebuilding that intergenerational nature in contemporary congregational life. Segmentation of a church's membership and age segregation have almost no place in their vision. They lay out the scriptural basis for the multigenerational church and review an amazing amount of literature in a concise and cogent way, and their writing is engaging and reader-friendly. Being a big fan of generational history, I really liked their presentation of it and how it works in the church. Read this book and intergenerational ministry seems so obvious. There is an outstanding review of literature reviewing learning and social theory, solid theory and theology, relevant observations and practical application--laying out how intergenerational ministry could happen in a congregational setting. They stress storytelling and tell some great stories in the process. One wonders how so much of the church sold out to an age-segregated approach when intergenerational church is so right. "What does this intergenerational church look like? I like the way they cite the Pauline 'one another' passages. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that kind of community?
director of youth ministry, the Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod
Families are complex; family ministry even more so. Allen and Ross explain how the best of intentions brought about the separation of generations in the church with serious unintended consequences. Now the question is: How do we bring the generations back together again into the one body that is the church? In Intergenerational Christian Formation this question is scrutinized from every possible angle, with input from every possible source. Allen and Ross conclude by offering more than enough activities to get the generations mixing again. Pastors, directors of Christian education and lay ministers will be pulling this book off their shelves for advice and inspiration over and over again.
-Dr. John W. Oberdeck,
professor of theology and director for lay ministry, Concordia University Wisconsin
Thought-provoking--and refreshing! Allen and Ross present a perfect blend of the biblical principles, academic inquiries and practical solutions surrounding one of the most significant, yet uncharted, areas in today's church communities. A must-read for all who desire to pass along a lasting Christian faith from generation to generation.
-Jessica Stollings Strang,
generational speaker and founder of re:Generations
In Intergenerational Christian Formation Holly Allen and Christine Ross give us thorough, powerful and practical approaches to growing Christ-followers of all generations. Pastors, church leaders and all believers can greatly benefit from their wise insights into how Christians grow and mature when the different generations learn that we are better together. I highly recommend this book.
author of The Intergenerational Church: Understanding Congregations from WWII to www.com
Drawing on classical developmental theories and biblical interpretation, Allen and Ross offer evangelicals a useful guide to the benefits and practices of intergenerational ministry. Their examples of multiage small groups and the true stories of multigenerational interactions included throughout the text are particularly helpful.
-Karen Marie Yust,
Union Presbyterian Seminary
This book is for pastors, lay leaders and professional church educators and students who want to model congregational life on the kingdom of God instead of marketing strategies designed to appeal to generational narcissism based on individual preference. This is one book that will both encourage and equip congregations to be less 'conformed to the world,' less prone to say, 'I have no need for you.' This is a book that argues persuasively from solid research, as well as the biblical mandate, for congregations to really 'love one another.' This book is honest about the costly demands of intentional intergenerational development as well as its rich rewards.
-Robbie F. Castleman,
author, Parenting in the Pew