Fuel a warm community: instead of focussing on cool worship or programs, aim for warm peer and intergenerational friendships.
Part 5 of 7 Series on ‘Growing the Church Young‘
“I love my church. I think it is amazing. Everybody knows each other and we all care about each other. It’s not, like, compartmentalised between generations or between different types of people. It is just like a big family.” – Katie, age 20 (p 163)
How would you describe the word ‘warm’?
For many young people, warm is the new cool. Good music, great experiences and excellent coffee will always be done better by people outside of the church! What young people are really looking for is the feeling of connection, of being known, loved, cared for. This is their spiritual thing!
Do you think that this would hold true for older people as well?
Essentially, that is how Jesus did ministry! People flocked to him because they felt connected. They knew they were loved. They knew they had found a place to belong.
How would you define a sense of belonging?
Growing Young uses the term warmth to describe the connections that take place across all generations within a healthy church. These communities major in authenticity. Gone are the masks that people have traditionally put on when attending church. People are real. And this authenticity runs deep. It builds deep, connected relationships and deep, connected faith.
To build this sort of community, however, takes effort and commitment. It requires us to move beyond our immediate circle of friends and to fully engage with those around us. It involves imagining what it would be like to be a new comer, a young person, an older person, someone who does not have a friend, and to listen to the language (both spoken and unspoken), to determine how accessible and warm we really are.
In short, it is to become genuinely intergenerational in our worship and our relationships.
To think about and discuss
- Reflect on the quote by Katie. What stands out for you?
- What do you understand by the term intergenerational?
- How would you describe the warmth of your community? If you could change one thing to ‘make it warmer’ what would that one thing be?
- How could you engage young people in your worship service planning, or sermon preparations? If you were to listen to them, of what would they be most critical? Most encouraging?
- What structures hinder your church’s warmth?