We are always keen to hear of exciting and innovative ways that churches are encouraging intergenerational church – engaging with everyone regardless of age or ability,
Sam Williams, Youth Minister, tells us about what’s going on at Holy Trinity, Tewksbury:
“As part of growing our young people in their faith, we like to offer them an opportunity to be part of our mainstream church body. This is the perfect place for young people to be able to try developing different skills in a safe place where people only have a heart to encourage and not criticise.
“Young people are encouraged to join our Young Leaders Group where they can be involved in pretty much anything within the church.
“To facilitate this, we have people from within each ‘team’ in the church who come alongside the young person to prepare and equip them for the task they are undertaking. This way the young person feels supported and encouraged and has the strength to step out in faith. We have seen that this has had a huge impact on the young people in terms of them being integrated into the church family. They aren’t just receivers of what the church offers, but are realising that they too have a part to play in the family of God. Everyone is of equal value and everyone has something to give.
“We are also starting a new initiative called Prayer Ladders. The idea of this is that our older young people will be role models for our younger young people. To
do this we are creating mixed age groups, with older teens, younger teens and pre-teens mixed together into new friendship groups. They connect together face to face on Sundays and use age-appropriate social media apps. The idea is that they offer one another words of encouragement, share a verse of scripture that they have read that day, and commit to praying for one another throughout the week.
“Each Ladder has an adult (mentor) attached to the group so that if any safeguarding issues came up the adult would take the lead on that. But the mentor also commits to praying for each member of the group, offering words of encouragement/scripture and also commits to meeting with them regularly once a month. Part of that is to help integrate them more within the church body by taking them to things like ladies’ and men’s breakfasts. We recognise that this model wouldn’t necessarily fit all, for instance, a young person who suffers from anxiety. So we also have a one-to-one based model of mentoring which would be more appropriate.
“We recognise that young people benefit greatly from having other adults in their lives to journey with them. Each young person should have five adults around them during their childhood/teenage years that are willing to invest, offer support and encourage them (research taken from Sticky Faith book). No youth minister, leader, or parent can accomplish that on their own. It takes the whole church to disciple and grow young Christians, and let’s face it, we have as much to learn from them as they do from us!”