Engaging Four Generations

By Penny Hilliker, Youth Leader, Aylmer Baptist Church

At Aylmer Baptist Church, a familiar question often arises, “Where are our kids?” Yet, instead of lamenting their absence due to their busy weekend schedules, we’ve embarked on a journey to connect with them beyond the confines of the sacred Sunday morning.

Our community comprises a diverse array of ages, from graduated high schoolers to spirited tweens and energetic grandchildren. Recognizing the vitality within this youthful cohort, we’ve devoted our efforts to fostering meaningful connections.

COVID gave us permission to do things differently – we embraced innovation and some of our adaptations have become our new path.

In-person gatherings became outdoor adventures, birthing the popular annual Family Advent Trail, where families walk a wooded trail to experience the Christmas Story. Youth newsletters were packed with Take Home Church activities like photo challenges for our virtual services, thanks in part to the invaluable resources provided by CBOQ Kids.

Our worship planning team prioritized inclusive worship, with monthly 4Gen Sundays designed to be interactive, informal, intergenerational, and often thematic. One theme day, Sports Day, was a big hit, withPastor Michel proudly donning his Habs jersey.

Monthly Friday night youth group meetings align with the spirit of 4Gen Services, inviting lively participation through music and storytelling. Even when youth can’t attend, they can participate through creating virtual content, including art, videos, and pre-recorded scripture readings.

One highlight was Grandtastic Adventure Night, which invited grandparents to join in activities alongside their grandchildren. We could see God moving among us at this event. Witnessing families gathering together, spanning generations, is truly a gift from God. Inspired by Grandtastic, one family has made Sunday morning an event with grandparents and grandkids worshiping together over breakfast.

While our 4th Gen may not always grace the sanctuary, their presence resonates through our community. Together, the four generations of children, parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents embody the life of our church family!

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