Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Ministry (DMin)


Jacob Dunlow


Rural Church, Small Groups, Intergenerational Ministry, Generations, Family Ministry


Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


Programs and activities at church are designed primarily to minister to the needs of specific age groups. Though this style of ministry has its place in the church, if not monitored, it can cause a division among the generations in the church. The division that exists can create a “we versus them” mindset. The generational division can create an attitude that affects the unity of the church while also a competition for resources and style preference in the church. This division also creates a culture of anemic discipleship from a lack of investment across generational lines that is a biblical call and a need in the church. This study aims to explore an avenue of correction for this division through intentional intergenerational small groups. This study will establish the biblical foundation for intergenerational investment while working with others’ contributions to this area to build the corrective components. This study used small groups with an intentional intergenerational component as the corrective method. A rural southern church with an average size was the subject of the study. Over the course of the study, intergenerational groups were formed, and they studied current relevant hot topic issues designed to stretch the thinking of all generations involved. Data was collected through surveys, journals, and planned service activities in which the partners worked together. The data was collected and investigated with an emphasis on spiritual growth and generational engagement that built bridges to induce investment and interaction that closed the generation gap.