At the end of the summer the youth of our church share the story of their summer mission projects in worship. It’s a beautiful service. It’s also a great opportunity not only to hear about mission but to participate in mission together as a church, with people from all generations. Regular fall Sunday school hadn’t kicked in yet, so no one felt like they were missing out or being asked to skip something mid-stream. And because this was the week school started families were back in town and showing up at church. What better time to show them how we can do cross-generational ministry that is exciting, fulfilling, and well planned?
I had several goals for this workshop
1. Create an intentionally cross-generational event
2. Do real and good work
3. Assist the mission committee in meeting their goals
We ended up with between 90-100 people at our workshop from age two to folks in their eighties and everywhere in-between. We offered several stations.
Station 1 – Assembling UMCOR Health Kits
Station 2 – Writing cards for shut-ins and drop-in visitors.
Station 3 – Sharing mission stories and pictures on large pieces of butcher paper. Also the station to find out more information about and get involved with mission at Duke Memorial.
Station 4 – Assembling “Hospitality Bags” for visitors who drop by the church in need of assistance.
Station 5 – A parishoner sharing about a ministry in South Sudan with which he is involved
Station 6 – Visioning our Future in Missions by using post-it notes to answer questions posed by the Mission Committee (“What can we do better?” “Who are our neighbors?”)
We also offered snacks, music, and people representing different mission groups with name tags that said “Ask Me About…” One of my favorite pieces was a scavenger hunt where you could win a button or bracelet if completed. The “hunt” included:-Find someone 20 years older or younger than you and make an UMCOR kit with her or him
-What is the mission theme for this year?
-Find someone who went on their first mission trip this year.
-Find someone who has been on an overseas mission and write the name of the country they were in.
-Write a fact about South Sudan.
It was amazing to see people from all generations sharing in the workshop, talking together, and meeting people they hadn’t met before. At the end we collected our UMCOR kits in baskets and the children brought them down during the offering to be blessed. I’m hopeful that Mission Workshop will bear good fruit for our neighborhood, for cross-generational friendship, and for our church as we learn how to be Christ’s hands and feet in the world.