An intergenerational worshipping community in Market Harborough have been putting their own spin on scripture, by taking Bible verses that speak to them and rewording them as prayers.
Limitless Church - which was born out of the five Harborough Anglican Churches and is made up of people of all ages with a mission to see young people grow as disciples of Jesus - took on the challenge to turn their signature passage from Ephesians 3 into something more their style of worship.
Revd Tom Grant, leader of Limitless Church, realised scripture needed to be something the church’s young people could own, and therefore remember, relate, and respond to.
“Liturgy is important to our faith, but I know that as a young person I never really engaged with it,” he explains. “Though we started our Limitless journey with missional liturgy that was family and youth friendly, even that felt like it wasn’t quite right and young people were not too keen on it.
“The Ephesians passage (Eph 3:14-21) is important to us as a Limitless Church with a Limitless God whose love goes far and wide, deep and high, and there is something significant about taking ownership of those words.”
The path to putting the prayer together was simple, with the congregation getting into small intergenerational groups, each of them taking a line to paraphrase in their own words. They were able to piece it together there and then and came up with this instant prayer.
“We say the Ephesians prayer every time we meet for celebration services, and I’ve not heard any grumblings,” says Tom. “It’s special because it not only comes from the people, but it helps us to realise why it’s important to the vision of the church as well.”
They’ve had another go since, taking the words Paul writes to Timothy (1Tim 4:12) - ‘Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young,’ - and turning them into this statement:
Just because you are young it doesn’t mean you are incapable of things, so don’t let anyone put limits on you. Encourage others to follow in your footsteps and imitate the good things God has started in you.
“As a worshiping community focused on young people we believe that what young people can achieve for the Kingdom of God has no limits,” says Tom.
Limitless is a church where young people are welcome, whether or not they believe in God; where people are equal and valued, no matter their age; and where young people are encouraged in faith, to be leaders and make decisions that will help shape their church. They meet for sung celebration, socials, and small groups, which follow the four words structure – welcome, worship, word, witness – alongside a weekly Limitless afterschool café for 11-16 year olds.
The church is roughly a 60% young people, 40% adult/families split, including several families with primary age children and a core group with some in their late teens.
One year on, and Tom says they’ve come a long way in the transition from youth group, to worshipping community.
“We’re exploring and embracing what it means to be church and what it means to be intergenerational,” he explains. “It's exciting to see how far we’ve come - it’s been a journey, and we’ve had to constantly reflect on how it’s going.”
Their monthly celebration with sung worship and live band (made up mostly of young people) is a favourite among the group, but when it comes to growing in depth of discipleship, they do that in their small groups.
Tom says: “We enjoy the excitement of the celebration to energise our faith, but thrive in the intimacy of smallness to nurture and grow those relationships.
“I think we’re learning what it is to meet God in worship, and there are times we feel the presence of God with us, and that’s exciting. Young people have a deep grasp of their faith and who God is, and we see that depth in so many ways.”