intentional intergenerational integration

The subject line seems like it’s gotta be redundant, doesn’t it?

This week’s Fridea arose from a church visit I made last weekend. Preston Hollow Pres here in Dallas is, like many Presbyterian churches, pretty liturgical. But the surprise for me was the fact that they had a little girl – elementary age – leading quite a bit of this week’s liturgy. She read Scripture, performed the “Leader” portion of some responsive reading, directed congregational actions, and so on.

It was actually pretty neat, and she certainly proved capable.

So it got me thinking, exploring the edges along the “who” axis of our college ministry meetings. What if you intentionally integrated particular “whos” that are generally underrepresented in students’ lives?

I remember realizing in college how rarely I ever saw babies, for instance. It was kinda weird, an insulation that isn’t necessarily benign. Are there ways even our weekly meetings could bring some generational variety to students’ lives?

Could adults, little kids, senior adults, young married people, and others somehow participate in our meetings?

  • Praying
  • Leading (or helping lead) worship
  • Guest-teaching (once or longer)
  • Leading discussion groups
  • Fellowshipping before and after
  • Leaders simply bringing their families with them
  • Testimonies
  • Whatever

Clearly, some of these are easier to imagine than others, and you probably won’t have little kids preaching anytime soon. But what if you did have a worship leader who reprised the role he played in the Jesus Movement a few decades ago? Or if your meeting ended with a kid’s testimony of following Jesus in the 6th grade? Or a young married couple who testified that God does know how to write great life-stories? Or a 60-year Christian who prayed with (or prayed over) your students?

Would it spark anything in your students to be reminded of “the others”?

Plenty of college ministries (especially church-based ones) have found some ways to connect adults and families with students. But helping students remember there’s a world outside of their bubble is wise for any of us; intentional intergenerational integration might just be one (interesting) way to do that.

As always, you can see all the previous Frideas here.

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