A great question for a church to ask is, “How are our students being utilized in the overall structure of the church?” The church is a body, and the teenagers are an integral part of that body. Students need places of service and interaction in order to feel a part of the church as a whole. Research indicates that the more students are involved in intergenerational relationships, the better they “stick” with the church post high school graduation. (See research in Sticky Faith by Kara Powell.) One of the goals for student ministry is to see youth be able to function in a church as they become young adults. To facilitate this, students need experience working alongside and building relationships with adults so that the transition is smoother when they enter young adulthood.
Connect Wednesday Nights to Sunday Mornings
- Take opportunities to promote Sunday mornings on Wednesday nights
- Explain Sunday School in the announcements
- Utilize Sunday School teachers to do announcements
- Talk about where youth classes meet and what to expect
- Share a little about sermons, fellowship, and what students are missing on Sundays
- To help connect the services, invite the pastor to preach in Student Service on a Wednesday night
- A connection needs to be built between pastor and students
- Platform the pastor during Wednesday nights and find ways to connect to his sermons
- Provide service opportunities for students on Sunday morning
- Have students take the offering
- Have students work as greeters with other adults
- Have students in the worship band
- Have students do an offertory prayer from time to time
- Teach on worship
- Explain the differences between Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights without being negative
- Most students need to know why there are differences between Wednesdays and Sundays
- Most students don’t have a good idea as to what worship really is. We can help by teaching it
- Once a month/quarter, have an open group time for the entire Sunday School to help it feel a little more like Wednesday night
- Sometimes students are intimidated by small groups. Having an open group where everyone meets together will alleviate some of that. It’s a great time to invite new students.
- Sunday School teachers can make breakfast instead of teach.
- Student pastor can do the lesson for everyone. It takes on more of a Wednesday night feel.
- Have Sunday School leaders/teachers involved at least once a month on Wednesday nights.
- Ask SS teachers to come and interact with students. They need to be visible.
- Have a good system to collect contact information on Wednesday night guests that can easily be passed on to Sunday morning leaders
- There has to be a good communication and information flow between the leaders on Wed nights and the leaders on Sunday morning. They all need good contact info on students.
- Reach out to the families of the students coming on Wednesday nights. Most students can’t come on Sunday mornings because their parent(s) can’t/won’t bring them.
- The reason we don’t have the same crowd on Sunday morning is because we don’t have their family. Efforts by the student pastor and the adult SS teachers should be made to invite families and minister to them and their needs.
Help them build relationships with Senior Adults
Senior Adult Sunday
- Have a Sunday where students serve the Senior Adults. Have bios on the adults available and invite senior adults to bring a precious memento from their lives.
- Allow the adults to share testimonies of how long they have been a member of the church and what the church has meant to them.
- Form a Word Document that has a bio and picture on each student. Go to the Senior Adult classes at the beginning of the school year and ask that they would “spiritually” adopt one student to pray over for the year.
- Senior Adult Sunday
Give them ministry opportunities in the overall church structure
- Students take on leadership roles all over the church from teaching Sunday School, to preaching on Wednesday nights, leading Wednesday prayer meeting for adults, taking up offering, praying/reading scripture in AM church service, etc.
- Regular positions in the church services (offering, prayer times, ushers, etc.)
- Positions on church committees or teams
- Student Takeover
Plan intergenerational mission and fellowship experiences
- Formulate a discipleship experience that pairs the older men/younger men, older women/younger women to learn scripture and experience life together
- Have them work alongside volunteers at Vacation Bible School
- Instead of a “youth mission trip,” do an overall church mission trip
- Instead of a “youth ski trip,” do a family ski trip