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All in the Family: “One-Hour Model” and the Future

By Cindy Marino

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In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Baby Boomers were becoming parents. This generation, (currently in their 60s) rebelled against the institution of church just as they had any other

institution their parents built or supported. Some innovative churches began offering creative contemporary worship services in order to win boomers back to church. And it worked. Many boomers found a place where they could “do church differently” and still raise their children in Sunday School just as they had been raised.

There was a difference, however. The children of boomers experienced Sunday School at the same time their parents were in worship. That trend spread to traditional congregations as well, including Grace. It was a one-hour opportunity for the family, but left out one important element, the children were never in worship. 

While the one-hour movement worked in many ways, its legacy, according to Tim Wright in Sunday Schooling our Kids Out of Church, is the most un-churched generation in the last few hundred years.  A couple of things have become clear: 

• We haven’t made the home the primary place of faith formation.
• Today’s young parents have no touch points that connect them with worship. 

This isn’t to say that the church has done anything wrong, but just that we need to pay attention and adjust as needed. At Grace, this means we are looking carefully at our overall programming to see how we can better incorporate kids into worship, and how we might provide more intergenerational mission and fellowship opportunities (such as Side x Side).

Where do you see opportunities to love and nurture children into the life of the church as you know it? How can Grace better support young parents as they bring children into this ever-changing world? This foundational role of church, to nurture people in their relationship with Christ and others, is one we take seriously. I would love to hear your comments. 

photo by seier+seier (flickr/ creative commons)