"Enough already--I get the importance of Intergenerational Student Ministry!" Is a response I hear a lot of lately. Honestly, I am thrilled to hear such statements because it indicates the message is out and people are listening. (NOTE: If "Intergenerational Student Ministry" is a new term for you, go to www.stickyfaith.org and/or www.fulleryouthinstitute.com, and dig around on the Youth Worker Articles and Intergenerational tabs).
And then comes the next, logical and expected request, "Give me a list of ideas (tangible programs that fill a ministry calendar) that will be a hit (an event that produce positive response) with my students, parents, pastor, leadership team, board or anyone else who could make my job miserable and/or get me fired for changing up our usual programming (programming that is a "hit" and often involves keeping adults and students happy in their own church silos)." I admit there is a bit of sarcasm in my response. However, within all sarcasm is a degree of truth. The truth is, student leaders, and many pastors (I know, I have talked with them), realize the need for crossing generational silos but are fearful of repercussions.
There are a number of great books, articles, seminars and blogs (hopefully this one) that can give you some great programming ideas and help you think critically. Even so, this is going to release a lot of that repercussion pressure and fear, at it's core, intergenerational ministry is a mindset not another program for student ministry.
"What?" "I can't buy a book with a step by step, this is the Intergen Model of Student Ministry?"
"No!" It is my opinion that you can take any model of student ministry (Purpose Driven--church to Young Life--para church) and begin to make intergenerational moves by asking the following two questions:
- How can we create opportunities for relationship building across generational lines? (You may be surprised how this one question will prompt creativity into ministry programming discussion)
- What current programs in your ministry provide natural space for student and adult interaction? (You will discover existing programs that need only a little tweaking to be intentionally intergenerational. e.g. Worship assemblies, special prayer services, seasonal celebrations--check your church/school calendars with an eye towards relationship building opportunities) (BTW: "Tweaked programs" provide the easiest opportunities for the wins we desire).
Question: Do you agree with this statement, "At it's core, intergenerational ministry is a mindset not another program for student ministry" ? Why or why not?