Rockpoint Church hosts regional meeting

Gazette photo by Avery Cropp
RockPoint Church in Lake Elmo hosts a day-long national conference on Oct. 19.

LAKE ELMO—Individuals from a nine-state area will arrive at Rockpoint Church for a conference later this month.

People from as far as Indiana will participate in a day-long conference Oct. 19 that focuses on how churches can make their communities move from a multi-but-separate feel to a inter-generational platform where members of all ages can feel involved.

This is the first time that the conference, created by the Christian Association of Serving Adults (CASA), takes place in a regional format.

Rockpoint’s Pastor of Community Life Betty Swanson, of Maplewood, is organizing this event. She signed up to host the conference at a national meeting last November and was contacted in May letting her know that her church was chosen to host the event.

The task seemed daunting to Swanson at first.

“We got the planning guide and I thought, ‘Oh my word, what have I gotten myself into.’ The first thing I did was put together a team and reorganized the packet,” Swanson said. “I have such a fantastic team and everything we’ve done has been used as a template for the rest of the conferences. I really think that God helped me put together this team.”

“Betty has really grasped the vision for what this could be and wants us to help fill the void for those in ministry that want to get involved and to move forward with it.” said planning team member Connie Slama.

Both Slama and Swanson said as the baby boomers take their place as empty nesters they’ve noticed their ministry at their church has changed and the experience has become more hands-on.

“People are going on mission trips and being engaged and I feel that the empty-nesters are really living out their faith and they desire to pass on the legacy of a sticky faith and a faith that really lasts,” Slama said.

Swanson mentioned a mission trip that the church had sent to Haiti and noted that it was very inter-generational. The object is applying that idea to the whole church and the conference is expected to help them generate more ideas with people from around the region going forward. She hopes to reduce the marginalization in favor of younger people that she’s been told some seniors feel at their various churches.

The conference is an all-day event. There will be inspirational speakers, exhibitors and four workshops about relationship building, ministry ideas for those over 50, the differences between the boomer and the builder generations, and a conversation with church leaders.

A panel of people from a variety of generations will talk and answer questions about their faith walk and how they have been impacted by those in various age groups. Those involved are Rockpoint’s Senior Pastor Roy Fruits, Barb Larson, a grandmother of 19; Kenny King at youth pastor at first free church in Maplewood, and high school senior, Angi Putney, who will talk about the impact an older member of the church had on her faith and life.

Swanson hopes that those who attend will take away the following:

“As older people I want them to know they are valuable in churches and I’d like them to take a look at where they’re serving, and if they’re not serving, find out where they can. I don’t want them to think that there is no place to serve and let them know that they have something to offer the community.”

The conference is targeted towards those in the baby boomer generation but  pastors, lay-leaders, Senior ministries and members of the community are welcome to attend. The cost is $25 and lunch is included. To register go to www.gocasa.org.

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