Are your teens missed at church when you go away for a retreat or camp? The answer to that question reveals how integrated the teens are in your church culture. The honest truth is that for most churches the rest of the church doesn’t notices when the teens are gone…some people may even be glad that group of kids that sit together on Sunday is not there because we know many times teens intimidate adults. A few weeks ago we took our small group leaders and teens to a retreat and we missed a Sunday morning. Those teens were missed. Why? Because most of those teens serve somewhere in our church culture. Because those teens actually go to the worship service and worship with their families and friends on Sunday. Because they bring energy to our church week in and week out. We missed them because they are a part of our church family…they belong in the church…they make an impact in the church. For all of us who lead student ministries we need to be honest and ask ourselves how we are helping the teens we lead connect to the church, serve in the church, find a place to belong at church. I know this is a difficult idea but maybe the reasons teens do not see the need for an inter-generational church is that as a teen they never connect with that church. How do we do this…here are just a few ideas that may help bridge the gap.
- Let teens see you connect with the church. // you need to be worshiping with your church on Sundays (if you are not leading a Sunday morning environment). We can set the tone by supporting the church not just our ministry.
- Empower teens to serve on Sundays. // when teens find a place to serve at church many times they find a place to belong. If you do Sunday morning environments for teens then challenge them to attend and then serve.
- Communicate what your student ministry is doing with your church. // keep adults in the loop of what God is doing in the student ministry you lead. Build a culture of sharing the good things God is doing. People love to hear an celebrate good news.
- Connect efforts of the church and student ministry together. // find ways to connect baptisms, mission projects, church wide strategy together with your student ministry.
- Welcome your senior pastor and other staff into your student environment. // let your senior pastor speak one week or just hang out for the night, ask staff to visit and help you evaluate your environment, keep staff in the loop of your vision. Connect the world of the church and your ministry!