Posts Tagged ‘student ministry’

Connected Generations

Over the past months and years there have been ongoing conversations about how to keep the younger generations connected with the church body after high school graduation takes place.  It seems there is a long standing tradition (or pattern) of high schoolers graduating out of youth groups only to feel there is no place for them in the church.

While I find some merit in the theory – I believe it is because we have set them up to feel this way.  Far too many churches put a large emphasis on youth group involvement and attendance at youth activities only to stop extending these invitations to them after graduation.  Many students head off to college or university and long for the deep connections that they had with their youth leaders and peers.  When they finish up 2nd semester they return to their home church only to find the welcome mat removed for them.

There does come a time when the topics/material/curriculum is no longer age-appropriate for college students and they themselves feel out of place.  Why can’t we change this?  Why not create an atmosphere where all people from all generations are welcome at all times?  This idea has been stirring around in my mind for some time now and after our Spring Clean Up Day at the church I realized what this looks like.  

If we were more intentional in creating environments where people of all generations could serve side by side new relationships could be established between generations.  Young people deeply desire to be connected with the older generations around them.  In these relationships a new appreciation for each other develops.  Generations begin to understand each other.  While the music may still seem too loud for one generation and the clothing styles may seem to prudish for another there is a common ground that is established.  

One thing that we have been trying to do more and more of at Impact (our student ministry) is to get the youth serving in ministries within the church.  Not that we want to “pimp” the youth, but we understand that the more opportunities for youth to serve in the general church body the more chances that they take ownership of the church as a whole.  It becomes their church and not just mine.  When these opportunities for serving overlap into the world of Sunday services there are even greater opportunities for young people to connect with older people.  It brings me great joy to see youth from Impact on the platform leading worship with adults or sitting behind the sound board pushing buttons.

I put my money where my mouth is on this one and encourage my oldest daughter to serve where she feels most comfortable.  Every other week you can find my 8 year old daughter working the cash register at the cafe.  I want her to know that GCC is her church, not just the place that her Daddy is a pastor at.  It excites me to see adults connect with her and begin to feel the nudge to serve because of her example.  I see 1 Timothy 4:12 come to life in her.

If we strive to connect youth to the whole of the church and not create a “youth ministry island” unto itself we will see young people grow in the church and stay connected for the long haul – and isn’t that what we want to see happen?


Blog Thoughts

When I began this blog it was because I wanted to communicate what was going on at Impact and our NNE4 District events.  The first posts were daily ministry reports and prayer requests from our Youth Summer Camp.  Over time I have seen this blog morph into a place where I allow people into my life.  I have had many conversations with people who will reference something that I wrote about – funny thing is that most times it is just random stuff that I posted on.

We all want to feel connected.  Somehow, this blog helps me connect with people.  It seems like when I am at GCC on Sundays I have few conversations with the same people.  As new people are always walking through our doors I am always on the lookout for new people to make feel comfortable and welcome.  At Impact I am usually trying to keep youth from hanging on something that will break.  All of this busy-ness has caused me to regularly feel like I am losing touch with my peep’s.

I have a thought.  How about if we all spend time purposely looking for people who are new to GCC and we ALL go to them and make them feel welcome.  At Impact, we ALL can spend some time dragging random teenagers down from whatever they are hanging on.  In doing this, together we will all have time to spend talking with our friends.

Relationships are huge with me.  I love to be with the friends that I have made at GCC.  It is these friendships that I have that keep me grounded.  I’d like to remain connected with everyone – and I will continue to make random posts on this blog about regular life stuff – but my main point for having this blog is to help other youth pastors/leaders in student ministry.  That is where the majority of my posts will be focused on going forward.

Student Ministry people, what are the topics that you would like to read about?  Any issue that is burning in you right now that you would like to flesh out?  Leave a comment and let’s get to it!