I’m passionate about several things. I love my family, music, running, and most of all knowing the sovereign God of the universe also calls me friend. It is my desire that these blog posts not only glorify God, but edify and instruct the Body of Christ in the biblical truth that corporate worship should be experienced together–all generations worshiping in Spirit and Truth.
I serve an intentionally intergenerational church just about 30 minutes outside the city center of Atlanta. Our church is only about a mile and a half from the largest mall in the state, which when built in 1999, ushered in a large-scale housing and population boom to the area. While the population has exploded in our area, not every established church saw increases. I say this specifically because I don’t want the reader to immediately assume our growth is strictly due to greater population in our area. Yes, our church is very visible, but the majority of our visitors say they come because they heard about us or were invited by a friend. Generally speaking, only the largest churches in the area (we are surrounded by at least 5 megachurches within a 15 radius) saw any significant growth. Our church, once a small church of just a few hundred members from her inception in the early 20th century until the 1990s and early 2000s, saw only modest growth until the latter part of the first decade of the 21st century. When the current pastor arrived in 2010, more significant gains in attendance continued to be realized. We believe this is attributed in part to his desire for our church to embrace her intergenerational roots. Because of this desire, our church makes very specific steps in ensure our members at every level have a place to serve and invest in other generations.
The result has been a large increase in membership and active participation in the church. I’ll give you a snapshot of some of the growth. Since our pastor arrived in 2010, we’ve had 600 new members, multiple baptisms, Sunday School growth that has doubled, and an average worship attendance that has grown from the high 200s to over 600 on a Sunday. When I arrived in January 2013, our music ministry had a adult choir 30-35 (if they were all there), and a pianist and organist. Fast Forward 4.5 years and we now have an adult choir of 72, and orchestra of 26, a fully-graded children’s choir ministry of about 50 children, and a youth choir of 25. This is not the type of growth you’d expect to see in a church that is not one of the high-profile churches in our area. But what we hear every week from our visitors is they’ve been searching for a church like ours for a long time and wished they’d found us sooner. They love that the music is varied, the preaching is expositional, and that ALL generations are present with many in worship leadership.
In the first of several blog posts, I will attempt to share what my research has shown me about how leaders of intergenerational music ministries have attempted to bring generations together through the musical portions of corporate worship. Specifically, my research focused on the leaders of choirs, their choir members (who they are generationally and their function in the corporate worship experience), and the choral literature they sing. I will answer questions about how we’ve managed to “appease” all generations musically without using contrived, inauthentic methods in corporate worship. Stay tuned!