Sunday school was working, but not well. It was bringing in the same folks
we would see for almost any other church gathering and very few of the folks
we only see at worship or for our Wednesday night LOGOS program. So we
decided to try something different.
Our Christian Education committee (through some weeping and gnashing of teeth on the part of some) decided to stop Sunday school and replace it with a program we call GIFT (which stands for Generations in Faith Together). The vision of GIFT is to get people of all generations (preschool, elementary, youth, college, young adult, middle aged, senior citizen, etc.) to gather for some sort of educational event once a month between September and April/May.
Our first GIFT event was held last fall, so this is still very new to us. We have had programs after worship (with lunch included), on Sunday afternoons, on Sunday evenings, and even on a Saturday morning (a food packing event with Stop Hunger Now that was probably the most well received). We will take some time later this summer to evaluate what we have done so far, learn from our mistakes, and build on our successes.
I grew up in a small church in southwestern Pennsylvania with about 125
members. In a place like that there is no such thing as “intergenerational
ministry”-it’s just ministry. When you only have so many people then
everybody (of all ages) does almost everything together. It was a great
blessing to my faith development to be surrounded by folks my own age, cool
teenagers, my parents’ friends, and people I considered my extra
grandparents. As a pastor I want that for the members of our church. I want young and old alike to see the love in one another and, in doing so, to see the love of God.
Scott W. Hoffman
Pastor/Head of Staff
Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church