Where did the young people go and what can we do about it? Have you ever found yourself asking this or similar questions? Do you sit in church and look around at the generations of people visible on Sunday mornings and wonder what happened?
As parents, grandparents, and those involved in the work and life of families in our communities – this question can lead to frustration and sometimes be a very personal grief.
A lot of research has been done over the past 10 (40+) years to help us understand why some young people leave the church and perhaps where they go. These studies have all had similar outcomes.
Over the past eight years Grow Ministries has been doing the hard work of processing this research.
What we have learnt is that we need to encourage congregations to re-think how they do ministry with children, young people and their families that includes the whole church community.
That means everyone - of every age - needs to see themselves as part of ministry with children and young people.
The key is to be intentional in providing opportunities to get to know each other.
- Intergenerational ministry is about doing life together. It’s about taking the time to get to know the people we sit next to each week, no matter how old or young they are.
- We can help young people feel a sense of belonging by planning intentional ways of building relationships across the generations.
Take the time to speak with the young people in your congregation.
- Use the time after your worship service or social event to connect with them, find out what interests them.
- Invite families with young people into your homes for a meal.
Find ways young people can serve or contribute to the ministry of your congregation.
- Serving is a powerful way to build a sense of commitment and connection, it develops community and develops important intergenerational relationships.
Provide learning opportunities that include all ages.
- Opportunities that build understanding of one generation to the other.
Rethink small groups to make them intergenerational.
- Intergenerational ministry is not just about children and young people, it provides benefits to people of all generations.
Let’s do ministry differently!
- It is essential for congregations and leaders to invest some time and energy into understanding what their role is to implement an intergenerational way of thinking - it’s about changing culture.
- This requires invested leaders, being intentional and giving people permission to try new things.
If you would like to learn more about how to intentionally minister to ALL generations, please contact the team at Grow Ministries. Register your interest by emailing email@example.com and a member of our team will contact you.