Start with Adults
Communication is a funny, complex and often frustrating thing. For instance, no matter how many e-mails, texts, fliers, web announcements, bulletin announcements, tweets, Facebook postings (the list of mediums could continue) you send out, someone, usually a parent ( just speaking the truth), will say I did not know about (insert anything here)! Even so, it is important to communicate the need for intergenerational youth ministry programming clearly and passionately. While working the Deep Ministry Process, the first practical move our youth ministry team made towards a change in programming was entering into the adult education realm.
Whether large or small, most every church body will have adult classes or small groups. If you have a Parents of Teenagers type of class, this presents the best first opportunity for clear and productive communication (by the way, it is good practice to periodically teach an adult class as a youth pastor!). The point is to GET IN FRONT OF ADULTS as much as possible and let them hear you, as the leader, communicate the need for intergenerational practices and the need for ALL adult believers, not just parents of teenagers, to be intentionally involved in the lives of the students in your church. Here are a few practical suggestions for getting into the adult education realm and providing an exceptional classroom experience:
- Ask! This may sound simple, but it is important to ask the Pastor, Adult Education Director, Class Coordinator or whomever is in charge for the opportunity to speak to the class. Tell them you want to speak on the need for adults to be involved in the spiritual formation of students.
- Prepare well! The information found in the intergenerational ministry articles was shared in our churchs Parents of Teenagers Sunday school class experience. These articles can each easily be broken down into a class format and you can encourage your audience to consult the articles for more information.
- Follow up! After you teach, what is the follow up plan? What do you want your audience to do with the information you have just given them? Give them something tangible like:
- Challenge adults to meet at least five students whom they do not know and start up a conversation.
- Challenge adults to have a spiritual conversation with the teenager(s) living in their home.
- Challenge adults to walk through the youth center area (or area where teens hang out in your church) and say hello to a few students on the way to the adult areas of church.
- Give them something tangible to look forward to like an intergenerational event or opportunity on the horizon.