by Rev. Dale Azevedo, Sr. Minister          –          September 1, 2019

For years at BCCUCC, we have periodically hosted what we call Worship for All Ages Sundays. Unfortunately, over the past few years that title has often been interpreted as Stay-at-home-and-sleep-in-because-it’s-a-three-day-weekend-and-there-is-no-church-school Sundays. Well, this year we are setting about changing that.

Brendan, Andrea and I, will be doing things quite different on these Sundays in the year ahead. We have designated 8 special Sundays as All Ages Worship Sundays, during which we will be intentional in creating a multi-generational worship experience. Multi-generational worship is a worship experience where the entire worship is created to appeal to, and impact, people across multiple generations; from kids, to seniors, to everyone in between.

A great example of multi-generational worship was our Jubilation Sunday this past May. Many of you noticed that this was not a traditional “Children’s Sunday”. Instead of having the kids get up and “show and tell” what projects they did in church school, Brendan and Andrea prepared a different style of worship. They sought to create a worship service that people of all ages could participate in, and be engaged with, that also highlighted many of the themes the children discussed throughout the church school year. Instead of it being a presentation about, or by, the children, it was a participatory experience for everyone.

Another example of a multi-generational worship experience was our prayer stations from Lent last year. As we provided time each Sunday throughout Lent for people to get up and move to one of the prayer stations, it didn’t matter if one was 4, 44, or 94, people found the experience a moving and relevant part of worship.

We are excited about this renewed program for a variety of reasons.

One reason is that it encourages people to attend worship on days that we usually don’t offer church school. You ever notice how attendance dips on holiday weekends? I’m sure not everyone has left town. It’s largely because we don’t offer church school. It can be really challenging to sit through a typical service with young children when everything is geared way over their heads! It’s a lot easier to stay home than wrestle with a fidgeter for an hour. But when the service is geared to all ages, those fidgeters are a lot more engaged. And that makes for happier moms and dads!

Another reason is that this is a great way to teach children about God and worship. Sure children learn about God in church school, but how do they learn about worship? We’ve raised an entire generation (or two or three) of children who have seldom if ever attended church. Instead we ship them off to church school. Then when they turn 14 and are confirmed, we expect them to miraculously find meaning in worship like an adult! Perhaps if children attended worship more often, and found worship meaningful at younger ages, they might choose to stick around after confirmation!

The last reason is that multi-generational worship allows us to worship together as a family. And, I don’t just mean our nuclear families. I mean our whole wide church family! We are all part of the church regardless of age. We all belong to one another. What a profound experience it is when we can all attend worship together and find something meaningful in it for each of us. Instead of it being an “us” and “them” experience, “They’re disrupting the service for us,” it can be just an “us” experience, “How wonderful it is to see everyone participating in worship and finding meaning in God.”

So in conclusion, I invite you to look forward to our new All Ages Worship Sundays and encourage you to attend. You should find them fun, engaging, informative, and meaningful. Not only that, each one will be unique! The only thing we ask is that you bring a positive attitude and be prepared to try something new. Find room in your hearts for all our multi-generations (the cranky children AND adults) and see God in the faces of all those who come to worship.

See you soon!