by Debbie Cazander
Every weekend people gather communally to worship God by attending church. With nearly a hundred churches in the city of Abbotsford this means there are thousands of children, young adults, middle aged and seniors who make their way to church.
The idea that there are so many people going to church on any given Sunday can be different experience; one that can be a bit daunting and yet exciting at the same time, especially for new believers.
For young children there is likely little choice in attending church as their parents simply take them: young adults may be looking forward to seeing their church friends, while for middle aged and senior congregants it has become such a satisfying part of their lives for many years that they could not imagine not attending church.
Although each church will have its own traditions and customs, most will include times to worship God by singing and through prayer, reading scripture and by listening to a message preached by a pastor. In addition to glorifying and learning about God there is also the important aspect of being united with others and of being in a family of believers – a multi generational family with members of varying ages.
The Abbotsford Christian Leaders Network (ACLN) executive, chaired by Tim MacIntosh, senior pastor at Heritage Alliance church, is organizing a city-wide Together service with the focus being ‘Generations’.
MacIntosh says, “We want to pray for all of the different ages in the church in Abbotsford.” He continues “We’ve usually drawn people from all ages, but in past years Together has often been weighted more heavily with older folks – we’d like to equally draw younger; regardless, we’re going to pray for all the ages”. In the weeks leading up to the Together event, children’s pastors across the city have been asked to have children draw a picture of what they think the family of God looks like. The children will add their first name and age on the drawing which will be distributed to the Together attendees, instead of a program or bulletin.
MacIntosh says, “we’re hoping to gather at least 500 pictures and then when we pause to pray for kids, we’ll ask everyone to pray by name for the child who drew the picture in their hand.”
The youth who are in attendance will be invited to the front and a number of youth pastors will lead the congregation in prayer over them. MacIntosh says, “In different ways we’ll take time to pray for young adults, those in their 30s-50s (whether single, married, with or without kids), and seniors.”
Worship will be led by worship leaders from across the city, a couple of pastors will speak from the Scriptures while other pastors will lead in parayer – “We’re hoping to have a wonderful, wild mix of the whole church in the city,” says MacIntosh.
Over the last two years Together events have been held each spring and fall. Everyone is invited to join in the Together City Worship Evening celebrating Generations on Sunday, March 11 starting at 6:30pm at Hillcity church, 3970 Gladwin Road in Abbotsford. This is a free event for the whole family.
“The point of the whole thing is to have a visible, tangible expression of unity, in the midst of heartfelt worship and real prayer,” says MacIntosh.