One unique and amazing aspect of our time together is your opportunity to hear Case Study presentations from the “Let’s Kill Sunday School (before it kills the church)” books by faith formation pioneers who are designing and implementing Cross+Gen in their own churches. Listen to their visions and struggles. Ask how they built their teams, set their course, navigated through rough waters and weathered the storms along the way. Discover the beauty, depth and wonder of what they have learned that has confirmed their call to this systems change. Along with their presentations, Case Study presenters will be available to you during breaks, at meals and in the free evenings for conversation and Q&A.

Nothing to Lose

Congregational Redevelopment with Cross+Gen at the Core

Rev. David L. Hansen
Spirit of Joy!, The Woodlands, TX
Members: 105
AWWA: 73

SYNOPSIS: David didn’t have to kill Sunday School when he moved from his thriving rural congregation to a suburban church in redevelopment. It was already dead, along with nearly everything else when it came to family faith formation. Would he try to revive a system from the past? There weren’t enough kids to even consider that. Would he birth something entirely new? That sounded like a lot more fun… and more promising. Come learn how a handful of Cross+Gen lessons learned in a thriving rural congregation helped a suburban church in redevelopment rediscover, reenergize, and revive a deep joy, a deep community and a new identity.

(By the way, can you tell David’s having a blast now that Sunday School is dead and Cross+Gen worship is alive?)

New Life on the Cross+Gen Playground

The story of a little church making space for the whole family of God in worship

Rev. Karen Ware Jackson
Faith, Greensboro, NC
Members: 70
AWWA: 52

SYNOPSIS: Faith Presbyterian Church is the image of so many small churches across the U.S. - from the cinderblock sanctuary and education wing gathering dust, to the faithful but failing congregation surviving on a wing and a prayer! But when hearts, minds, and sanctuary were opened to the whole family God, the Spirit delivered a well of life and love. How did this congregation do what so many struggle to do? A few things contributed: 1) it embraced the "golden moment" of close enough to death to be willing to try new things, but still enough life to make them happen; 2) a leader and a small team willing to invest time, money, and lots of energy into the project; 3) a congregation blessed with an overwhelming love for one another and a shocking willingness to experiment, which can only be attributed to the Holy Spirit.

From Canoe to Cruise Ship

Rev. Dr. Dawn Alitz
Center for Lifelong Learning, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, MN

SYNOPSIS: When you decide to make changes to an existing faith formation program, how do you get the entire congregation on board and entering into community with the families of the church? What happens when you can create such a broad base of support? What happens when you don’t? (Hint: rough waters ahead!)

 Dawn shares the story of a mission congregation that encountered a bumpy start implementing Cross+Gen ministry. Through careful and prayerful intentional steps, they moved forward with a deep appreciation of the need for all ages to engage in the designs of Cross+Gen worship and discipleship. When she moved to an older, larger congregation, there were new challenges. This session encourages leaders to think strategically about how power and ministry can be intentionally shared to create a smoother transition to Cross+Gen ministry.

Baby Steps

Bringing Children Back to the Sanctuary

Michelle Basner-Ketepa
Beautiful Savior, Bloomfield Hills, MI
Members: 1,053
AWWA: 229

SYNOPSIS: Congregations often unknowingly create a culture where children are not welcome in worship.  It happened at Beautiful Savior Lutheran.  Bringing the children back into corporate worship can prove to be challenging for everyone involved.  Small, creative changes to engage children and welcome families can make a big difference.

Rural Cross+Gen: One Size Fits Most!

A Cross+Gen mindset works beautifully in meeting the unique challenges rural congregations face, and rural congregations already have a healthy share of what goes into a Cross+Gen mindset - they just don't know it!

Rev. Matt Larson
Burr Oak & Hesper, Decorah, IA
Members: 1,010
AWWA: 134

SYNOPSIS: What the Burr Oak and Hesper Lutheran Parish struggled with is pre-packaged faith formation programs that didn't seem to fit their context. What made Cross+Gen work is it's not a program, it's a mindset.  Adopting that mindset and systems-change has changed faith formation for this small, rural, multi-point parish, and offers both hope and help for other congregations.  

Vivid Worship! 

What Happens When an Actress, Talent Agent, Kidmin Director and Marketing Guru Designs Cross+Gen Worship?

Bonnie Deroski
Grace Christian Church, Tinton Falls, NJ
Membership (Covenant Missionaries): 300
AWWA: 150 

SYNOPSIS: By definition vivid is “full of life, strikingly beautiful and realistic.”  Vivid Worship is intergenerational, interactive, interpersonal and a new way to approach God. Grace Christian Church has stepped boldly into what God has for them as a church – the whole church – squirmy babies, questioning teens and learned elders. What they’ve come up with is Vivid. Come see what Bonnie, a film actress/talent agent/marketing guru turned Christian education director is designing for all ages and stage, on stage at church. 

From S’mores to Snow

Integrating FAITH5 into Worship and Daily Life for All Ages

Rev. Sara Yotter
Joy Reigns, Edgewater, MD
Members: 170
AWWA: 98

SYNOPSIS: Practice makes perfect, the saying goes.  As one congregation launched FAITH5, see how it provided as many opportunities as possible to practice.  Step by step, FAITH5 was integrated into various aspects of worship and congregation life for all ages.  From an outdoor summer campfire s’more worship to a video created for home worship the morning of a snow storm. From family confirmation groups to “FAITH5 on Tap.” From council meeting devotions to new member classes, and more.  Come and see how one congregation has launched FAITH5 in creative ways throughout the life of the congregation, to nurture fully devoted followers of Jesus of all ages.

In the In Between

Interim – Preparing the Way – Not Just Passing Through

Rev. Patricia A. Morlock, Interim Pastor
St John, Greenville, OH
Members: 304
AWWA: 103

SYNOPSIS: Interim ministry is an intentional period of time when an interim pastor helps a congregation transition from one called minister to another. Called to a congregation in deep conflict, drastic measures were needed to turn this congregation from one of chaos to one with a hope-filled, life-giving future. Patti shares how, after much groundwork and prayer, Cross+Gen Adventures in Faith was born, not as a magic bullet, but as a means of transforming and renewing a people of faith in need of relearning how to be the Body of Christ.

Great Expectations 

Facing Intense Passion For and Against Cross+Gen Faith Formation in the Same Church

Rev. Natalie Hall
Epiphany, Pittsburgh, PA
Members: 589
AWWA: 125

SYNOPSIS: Natalie had great expectations for her church when she put together an entire Cross+Gen curriculum, preached on the Biblical basis for Cross+Gen, developed worship services with Cross+Gen elements, and received the blessing of her church leadership to implement it all. As shifts were underway, however, a massive fault gradually developed between those who embraced it and those dead set against it. On the one hand, families began healing, Bible study grew, people started writing Scripture songs for worship, and leadership emerged excited to preach, write, and develop ministries. Beauty. Depth. Wonder.  Yet, difficulties emerged in the form of power struggles and fears about preserving tradition. 

What happened next? Deep loss. Significant gain. And, through it all, questions to launch further work on faith formation.

Sunday Schooling Our Kids Out of Church

How one church dropped Sunday School to save its soul

Rev. Tim Wright
Community of Grace Lutheran Church, Peoria, AZ
Members: 670
AWWA: 650

SYNOPSIS: After 22 years as the associate pastor of a large seeker church in Phoenix, Tim planted Community of Grace Lutheran Church in Peoria, AZ in 2005.  Leaving behind a 40 acre state of the art campus for a school sanctu-gymna-cafe-torium with two locker rooms and a dirty janitor’s closet for Sunday school and nursery, the congregation (starting with a core group of about 300 people) chose to shift from Sunday school during worship to Sunday school during the sermon time.  You would think any church could staff and implement a dynamic, meaningful 25 minute Sunday school program.  But the Sunday School “grew" from about 80 kids to under 30 in three months.  And while the church grew, numbers of kids remained static.  It was time for a change.  Desperation can often be the stepping stone to transformation. (Note: Tim is the author of the books “Searching for Tom Sawyer” and “Sunday Schooling Our Kids Out of Church.”)

Circle of Blessing

Engaging All Generations for Accompanying One Another in Ministry and Mission

Linda Staatz, M.S.
HomeGrown Faith, Phoenix, AZ

SYNOPSIS: Cross+Gen Ministry is fun. It is essential. It is a lens for all we do. In this Case Study, Linda draws from her 40 years of experimenting with and teaching Cross+Gen Ministry. She explores: 1) Cross+Gen Ministry as Accompaniment, based on research, scripture, theology and life experience, and 2) How to tap the potential of congregations to bring six generations together to truly BE the Body of Christ – weaving together the views, skills, faith narratives and perspectives of all generations into the fabric of faith and life together. 

Against the Flow

One Church’s Journey into GIFT Ministry

Kristin Johnson, AIM (Associate in Ministry)
St. Petri, Story City, IA
Members: 473
Average Weekly Worship Attendance (AWWA): 102

SYNOPSIS: There’s a story in Story City about a church that killed Sunday School and went totally Cross+Gen. They chose going against the flow of age-segregated Sunday School and created a true GIFT (Growing In Faith Together) in its place.

Every week now they connect the wisdom of the elder to the wonder of the child in the same sacred space. They make no excuses when guests visit and ask about putting a child in Sunday School. That’s not an option at St. Petri. That’s not who they are. In this Case Study, Kristin, a dedicated AIM (Associate in Ministry) with a heart for kids, parents and Cross+Gen relationships at the core of the church, will unpack how they came to be known as “the cross + generational church in town”. She will share how they went from age segregated Sunday School, Confirmation and VBS to being ALL cross+generational in their ministries. And she will share the ups and downs that came with this intentional journey into Cross+Gen systems change.