Effective Youth and Family Ministry is: Cross Generational

Statement: Faith is formed by the power of Holy Spirit in caring relationships between the generations.

Biblical Basis: “Therefore, since we are sur- rounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

- Hebrews 12:1

Rationale: In a frozen land, the Inuit built rugged statues called inukshuk that aided them in hunting practices. Inukshuk means “One that looks like a person.” These rough sculptures made from stones have now become landmarks, or cairns, for those on a journey in the wild. In other words, the inukshuk is a symbol of someone who has gone before, marked the way, and offers us a certainty that we are on the right path.

Cross-generational ministry in the church is an inukshuk for young people. As written in Hebrews, we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. Those who have gone before us offer us a marker and a certainty that we are on the right path. They affirm the questions we are asking, the doubts that we experience and the joys we live in are all part of a journey that others have taken before and that we take together.

Cross-generational ministry raises up the gifts of each generation as “inukshuk” for others along the way. We are all on this journey together. We all have something to share. We all have something to learn. We all need those who have gone before to cheer us on, to mark the way, and to offer us a message of hope in Christ.

Dr. Rodger Nishioka, who teaches at Columbia Theological Seminary, writes on the resilience factors of a young person. Specifically, this principle implies that all youth need at least five adults in their life who, if they were to do the unspeakable, they could confess to and know that they are still loved by that individual. This is to say that young people need relationships with adults who will listen, teach, nurture, and love youth in safe, yet challenging ways so that they may truly explore and mature in their faith.

Cross generational ministry is incarnational ministry that provides living and loving adults in a young person’s life so that they experience the love of God in very basic, yet profound ways. Cross generational ministry uplifts the cloud of witnesses and cheers us on in the race or journey we embark upon that is faith. Cross generational ministry serves as the inukshuk for us...the wisdom that has gone before us and encourages us to carry on.

Faith Lutheran Church - 155 Boyson Road, Marion, IA 52302 - 319.377.9700