Bridging the Gap
A few of us on staff have been reading through the book You Lost Me together over the past few weeks. The book, written by Dave Kinnaman (the president of the Barna Group), looks at the problem of 18-29 year olds (commonly referred to as “millenials”) leaving the church. As someone in the middle of that demographic that works with college students on a daily basis, the book is fascinating.
As I was reading through the first chapter, there was one sentence in particular that really blew my mind. While talking about the disconnect between generations, Kinnaman said:
“Many young people feel that older adults don’t understand their doubts and concerns, a prerequisite to rich mentoring friendships; in fact a majority of the young adults we interviewed reported never having an adult friends other than their parents.” [i]
The fact that most young adults have never had a mentor or adult friend of any kind really bothered me. It makes sense that without any type of connection to the older generation young adults completely dismiss an entire generation as “out of touch” simply because they feel like they can’t relate to them. But what would happen if there was some kind of connection between generations? How would that impact the spiritual development of someone in their twenties if they were being mentored and poured into by someone in their forties?
The idea of mentorships is a biblical one. Moses took Joshua under his wing and raised up him up as the next leader of the people of Israel. Paul did the same thing by training and equipping Timothy. There are several other examples in both the Old and New Testaments where we see one generation pouring in to the next.
My pastor did the same thing with me in seventh grade. He was the first adult (other than my parents) to actually invest in my life. Hanging out with him one-on-one doing normal every day things, I learned a lot about what it meant to be a Christian man. He taught me about ministry, family, how to fix a lawn mower (a skill that I lost quickly), and forgiveness. I can still recall specific conversations that we had over a decade ago.
God has blessed us at Harris Creek with a great mix of people. College students, young married couples, families with kids, empty nesters and people that fit in a dozen other categories. So how can we take advantage of that? How can we take this multi-generational group of people and have each age group pouring into the next?
The Children’s Ministry and the Youth Ministry have adults and college students leading small groups, Life Groups, helping in Navig8 and Integr8 and doing a variety of other things. In the College Ministry, we have families involved in our Adopt-A-Student program. We also have adults that sponsor Life Groups so that we can have an adult presence in our college groups (which we need more of by the way).
If you’re interested in finding a way to invest in the next generation, I’d encourage you to fill out our Ministry Application. From there we’ll be able to connect you with the ministry where you’d like to serve. If you’re interested in serving in the College Ministry or if you’re a college student looking to connect with adults in our church, always feel free to send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org)!