St Paul’s Lutheran Church at Caboolture is one of eight LCA congregations to receive the LCA’s ‘Have a Go!’ financial grant, sponsored by the LLL.
The church has received the grant of $10,000 for their intergenerational program: St Pauls Lutheran Intergen Community Education (SPLICE).
‘In 2016 our church was wondering how to overcome the inertia of an ageing congregation that was struggling to hold onto young people and families’, says St Paul’s ex congregational chairperson, Dr Mark Bennett. ‘Our leadership team began to connect with the LCA’s resource groups, leading us to discover the “growing faith at home” ideal and the concept of “intergenerational ministry” — quite new languages in our LCA landscape. Fortunately, even the most traditional amongst us readily saw the sense of focusing on the nurture of the next generation.’
As the church community pondered how best to move forward with a plan to connect the young and old of the congregation in shared worship and ministry, it soon became clear that the congregation needed someone to coordinate and resource the congregation’s ideas for successful intergenerational ministry.
‘Creating the part-time position of SPLICE Coordinator (8 hours per week) was the critical step to make the idea happen’, says St Paul’s pastor, Mike Neldner. ‘Our coordinator selected for this role also serves as school chaplain, a circumstance which readily helps us tap into the school community, the obvious mission opportunity of our church family. It is clear that this role is building and strengthening our school–church connection.’
The position went to Teneille Kirby in July 2017, who set to work immediately setting up a weekly ‘SPLICE Kids’ playgroup, where congregation and school mothers can bring their little ones for music and movement based fun.
‘At the end of Term 1 2018, Teneille initiated a family BBQ that was arranged for SPLICE kids’ families’, Pastor Neldner continues. ‘It was an opportunity for working parents to be included, and for mixing of church families with families new to our community as a result of SPLICE. Our youth group has also taken up the call to intergenerational ministry by visiting the Aged Care Village and preparing some small gifts for the residents there.’
Other ideas being considered for the SPLICE community, with the same goal in mind, are picnic lunches after Sunday service and a disco in the church.
‘Our intergenerational ministry effort SPLICE is meeting the church where it’s currently at and attempting to gradually foster a change of culture’, Pastor Neldner says. ‘We are still finding our feet, but it is a rewarding learning curve!’