The church encouraged me to use my gifts and empowered me to think beyond what I could see. When I felt called at age 14 to start a youth choir because we didn’t have one, the immediate response I got from the adults in charge was, “What can we do to support you?”
This is the foundation upon which I build my life of ministry. When a child shows a passion for something, I want to be one of the adults who says, “What can we do to support you?” The church is a powerful and unique setting. Nowhere else in society do we have at least six generations* in one space together. Nowhere else do we have the opportunity to introduce our children to people with experiences of two World Wars, seventeen different Presidents, the invention of the television AND the internet, and a way of doing church that has changed drastically, but still has as its foundation the purpose of following Jesus in community. Nowhere else do we have the experience, as older people, of learning from children about what their lives are like today, of observing how they, like us, love to serve and learn and worship, and of being inspired by their wonder and imagination.
One effort that we will be making this Lenten season to meet a currently unmet need is to offer a short Wednesday evening worship at 6:00 PM. The 7:00 PM Holden Evening Prayer that many of us love doesn’t work for most families of young children, who need an earlier, more active experience. While this service will be designed to meet the needs of younger generations, all are welcome to worship together. It could be an opportunity to worship in a different way, and to experience God through the joy of young children and their unique way of looking at the world. And it could be an opportunity to answer the question “Why Church?” in a way you never thought you would.
~Deacon Stephanie Luedtke
*Common understanding is that there are six generations living today. However, the youngest generation, Gen Z (age 22 and under) will eventually be split into two, when characteristics of the youngest are better understood. Additionally, studies show that, including their families, individuals come in contact with only one to two other generations on a regular basis.