We realized over the last few years that while different age groups need time in age specific/peer ministries. They also need time being connected with other age groups in the congregation. We have often picked the first to the exclusion of the second. There is only so much one 20 year old can teach another. There is also only so much an 80 year old can relate to a 20 year old. Both have strengths and both relationships are needed.
This year our congregation is going to spend time addressing that. Our theme at Northwest this year is “Bridging the Generations”. We have a few concrete things we are going to do and a few other things that are still just ideas. Here are a few things you may want your church leadership to consider:
- Mixing up all teen & adult Bible classes for 3 months on Sunday morning. No youth group class. No 20s & 30s class, no seniors class. We are all in class together. The hard part here is getting those groups to not all go to the same class that quarter. Our solution to that is to divide everyone up into three classes and then have our three ministers each teach a subject for one month and then rotate to the next class.
- Gear fellowship times toward inter-generational connection. We are going to have a quarterly fellowship event that plays to the strength of each age group in the church (youth, 20s & 30s, 40s-60s & retired people). This way each group gets something they are good at to do with someone from another generation. Imagine seeing a 16 year old paired up with an 80 year old for doubles shuffleboard? Or imagine a 75 year old racing a 20 year old in a video game.
- Marriage mentoring – See Ed Gray’s 12 conversations
- Lunch date signups. Couples young and old sign up to have lunch with each other. Place a signup sheet on the bulletin board and have a young and older couple get paired up via signups.
- LIFE Groups – the vast majority of our LIFE groups are inter-generational. Many churches today have age-specific LIFE Groups. That is good for some things and can work very well but it is good to have a mix of different types of groups in small group ministry and inter-generational is a big part of that.
These are just a few ideas. How has your congregation tried to get various generations better connected?