It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve taken the time to sit down and craft a new blog post. I don’t have any good excuses, but I do have some less than satisfactory reasons. They include writer’s block, a lack of energy, focusing attention on seemingly more pressing matters, working to bring a full-time worship leader on the staff team, and others.
But now I’m back and committed to posting at least once a week. I have seen a benefit in being able to connect through this blog with those who I may not see on a regular basis otherwise. It also makes a great vehicle for continuing to tell our story as it unfolds.
Now to the topic of today’s post, which is one that will surely elicit a strong response from some readers. This post will actually be split into two parts. I will post the conclusion next week.
Has your experience in church included working alongside mainly people your own age or has your work cut across many generations? (Sitting in the same room with people of different ages on Sunday mornings does not count.)
Seeing multiple generations working alongside each other toward a common goal is one of the greatest components of 801South. In fact, one of the original goals was to create environments where people of all different ages could actually serve together and we have seen that happen in the early stages of 801South. There are a handful of environments where we are setting up multigenerational ministries.
Some of our first small groups have included individuals who were empty nesters sitting next to young singles sitting next to high school students—all in the same room. Another area where we see multiple generations serving together is on the Band Team. We’ve had musicians and vocalists as young as 15 and as old as…well we won’t go there. It’s been very cool to see them come together around a common interest and ministry; rather than seeing people only serving (or being served) in siloed-by-age ministry compartments.
Through my interaction with some of the middle and high school students in 801South and in reflecting on my years serving as a student (youth) ministry director, I have come to understand that the traditional church has done a great job of setting up expectations for students to experience particular programs and events. Students tend to be most passionate about the upcoming events in which they have seen older students participate with great anticipation.
But perhaps there has not been the same emphasis placed on discipleship of students in the traditional church.
Parents can sometimes fall into the same trap. I remember a mother telling me, “My daughter and her friends are excited. Way to go!” following a big event we held for hundreds of middle and high school students. So if your children have a good time and are excited about an event, then that is your win?
We talk about the percentage of students who leave the church when they leave the home. This is a complicated issue and there are several layers, but perhaps part of the problem is that there’s no one planning events any longer.
(To be continued next week, but feel free to comment on Part 1.)