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“People just know each other better. It’s created a lot more understanding.” 

 

Hope Baptist Church has intentionally sought to bring people of all ages together. It’s not easy, but the church is reaping the benefits  


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“What’s possibly unusual about Hope is that there’s not really any age group that’s under represented,” says Baptist minister Luke Mansfield. “There’s a really good intergenerational mix of people.” 


Luke pastors Hope Baptist Church in Plymouth, a church with around 250 regulars aged between 0-90, of whom around 50 young adults. Luke joined in Easter 2019, succeeding the late Andrew Gardiner, and said he discovered a fellowship where there had been a focus on mixing the generations.  

“There was a recognition there wasn’t a mix of ages. There was a deliberate shaking up of the life (house) groups to try to get much more of a crossover. It’s something that the church has stuck at, and is really beginning to reap the benefits,” says Luke.  

“People just know each other better. It’s created a lot more understanding.” 

Church stories - Hope2He says the younger generations “benefit from the wisdom of those lived years”, citing the example of mums of young children receiving care and advice of those whose children are much older. At the same time, the older people have been “energised” by life with the younger ones. 

The church has a number of activities where there is an intentionality about being intergenerational. It hosts a soup run each Monday night, involving people from 18 to the early 60s. Older leaders are involved in the toddler groups, while there have been a number of one off events which have worked well because the relationships have already been there.  

Being an intentionally intergenerational church is “not an easy thing”, Luke continues.  

“We are creatures of habit, and it’s easier to be with the people in similar situations to you. But in the groups where it’s really worked there has been a lot more support and discipling.”

Speaking specifically about young adults, Luke himself in his 30s, says the church tries to "use every resource possible.” 

“So there’s a really good social media presence. We live stream services. We simply try to meet people where they’re at.”

 

This article appears in the Summer 2020 edition of Baptists Together magazine, which explores reaching and raising young adults



Images | Mark Smith
Baptist Times, 29/04/2020
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