Why is Intergen So Important?

Im doing a bit of refreshing on emerging adult research in preparation for speaking at the Princeton Emerging Adults Conference next week. As is true with our research, Christian Smiths research as described in Souls in Transition (co-authored with Patricia Snell) points out the importance of adolescents and emerging adults being involved in the overall congregation.

Last night someone asked me why teenagers intergenerational relationships helps instill Sticky Faith. My first answer was, Because thats how God has designed the church. Thats how God intends us to live. Im a practical theologian, so thats how I tend to think.

Christian Smith is a sociologist so he offers a different rationale. Christian suggests that the more folks enjoy the members of a group, the more they want to attend the group. It occurred to me as I read this sociological perspective on group dynamics that the more folks attend a group, the more they get to know and hopefully enjoy the members of the group. So a feedback loop is birthed.

So the more your students are around your entire congregation, the more they get to know adults in your church. The more they get to know adults in the church, hopefully the more they want to be around your church. Witness a powerful feedback loop.

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