How to Connect the Next Generation to the “Big Church”
The challenge of getting the next generation to engage in “Big Church” is well known across the landscape of worship in our churches. Here are three ideas for multi-generational worship.
MAKE SURE YOUR SONG SELECTIONS OVERLAP
It’s well documented that many “twenty-somethings” go through a period of disillusionment and tend to disappear from our churches. One reason is that the weekly college meeting bears no resemblance whatsoever to the Sunday morning service. They move up to “Big Church” only to find a completely different landscape. They get lost and conclude there is nothing for them there, and furthermore, no one will notice if they disappear. However, when they recognize something familiar, you give them a chance to connect. Make sure youth services experiment with hip arrangements of older songs (even hymns) and that “Big Church” includes their songs, as well.You don’t have to sing all the same songs but you do need to overlap.
INCLUDE YOUTH LEADERS ON YOUR SUNDAY MORNING TEAM
When a high school student arrives with their parents on Sunday morning and sees the same guy who was leading the Wednesday night youth worship fully engaged in leading adults, they are more likely to value the service. Students see “their guy” helping to facilitate worship, and it gives them a model to follow as well as confidence that their generation is valued and embraced in “Big Church.” Sometimes this is a logistical struggle because of scheduling or focus, but the dividends are worth the extra investment. Have the youth worship leader lead a hymn. Undo a stereotype and be sure that you’re encouraging an atmosphere of co- operation and coaching. Build a relation- ship and begin to share your leadership.
INVITE THEIR CREATIVE INPUT
It’s not uncommon to find young people involved in the Sunday morning worship ministry in churches across the country.What is unique is allowing those young people to provide leadership in the creativity, planning and implementation of the service of worship.You don’t need to give away the whole service or just have some kind of special occasion where “the youth” lead the worship, simply, include them in the process.
Don’t just use them because they’re good musicians. Invest in them and allow them to help shape the culture of your church. If you continue to provide leader- ship, offering guidance and security for the congregation, and you’re willing to take the risk to ensure the vibrancy and longevity of your church by encouraging young leaders now, you’ll have no problem connecting the next generation to “Big Church.”