25TH ANNIVERSARY FOUNDER'S INVITATION
There is a new word whose time has come that is sweeping across the church:
Not intergenerational. Not multi-generational.
Place the cross in the center of generations and marvelous things begin to happen. Connect pudgy, little hands with wrinkled, old hands and get out of the way.
Embed the text of the day inside FAITH5 (Share, Read, Talk, Pray, Bless) and drop it onto a table with costumes and food and glow sticks and paint and watch both the people and the text come alive.
Set the highs and lows of a teen next to the highs and lows of a recent widow or widower and invite prayer. You’ll see the priesthood of all believers rise to their callings in dutiful, beautiful ways. And you just might be amazed.
Cross+Gen is not program. It’s a process. It’s not a class. It’s a community. It’s not a way of doing Sunday School. It’s a way of doing life.
This fall marks the 25th year since Arlyce and I "took a year off," left salary and pension (and some say our senses), and hopped into a Winnebago to travel the country with the “Confirmation (sic!) is Dead” message.
That message and the people who embraced it transformed Lutheran confirmation from a sit-in-the-desk after school class to a large group/small group/learning/worship/fellowship/service community with hundreds of thousands of small group guides and mentors finding life and joy in adolescent faith formation ministries.
In the time since, Faith Inkubators has created multiple resources that help churches partner with parents in faith formation.
We’ve taught on five continents. We’ve seen curricula come and go. We’ve seen national churches contract and international churches explode. We’ve seen the Sunday School numbers in my denomination go from 1,000,000 to 180,000 as today’s parents have abandoned it as not worth the time.
I’ve taught in a thousand cities. I’ve stayed in hundreds of host homes and heard late-night stories from pastors, Christian Ed. directors, parents, youth and teens.
I’ve been elated and broken. Worn and torn and dead (yeah, my heart stopped) and reborn.
Through it all, God has been faithful. Through it all I’ve learned a thing or two about systems theory, adaptive change, and the neurology of learning. And through it all, mostly because of Cross+Gen, I am more excited and hopeful about the future of the church than I’ve ever been.
Come and catch a vision of the church we call Cross+Gen. Come and shape a vision for the church you call your own. The church that called you to lead, not bleed.
Come and see the church. Come and be the church. Then go and free the church for mission. For joy. For life.
- Dr. Rich Melheim
Founder of Cross+Gen Life, Faith Inkubators and The Faith Inkubators Foundation