By Steven Ackley
If you serve in young adult ministry, you’ve probably felt the tension of segmenting the generations to achieve greater “success” in your ministry. I’ve felt it too. But it’s important to remember that our churches are much stronger when we link arms than when we isolate.
One of the primary environments for this to happen is our corporate worship gatherings. Here are six areas of worship gatherings to consider to enhance your young adult ministry and connect the generations.
1. Worship songs
Do songs cater to a particular generation, or are they an expression of praise to God? Is there more emphasis on the style of music or the content of the song? Music is universally a uniter, but in most churches today, it has become a divider. Be sure that music draws generations together by focusing on what the it is intended to stir up: a greater love and commitment to Jesus.
Be aware of the entire congregation in preaching. It’s easy to only consider those in the same stage of life as yourself, but consider the application and understanding of the text for all those in the room. This will allow preaching to demonstrate the value of different generations and show one generation the potential they have of investing in another generation.
3. Prayer, offering, and announcements
These elements allow us to cultivate a sense of togetherness in our worship services. Utilize different generations to lead these times. More than that, consider what you are praying for, what you are telling people they are giving to, and what needs to be announced. Think intentionally about what each generation needs to hear. Now, you may not necessarily hit young adults right between the eyes every week, however you will have the chance to help them feel valued when these things do speak to them.
As we practice the ordinances, we are remembering the hope that is in Jesus and proclaiming that to everyone in the room. Baptism and the Lord’s Supper offer us with the chance to universally remind all generations of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Don’t miss the chance to display these things in a God honoring way.
5. Service roles
Consider musicians and singers, ushers and greeters, production volunteers, and other visible roles in the service. Each role shouldn’t be a monochromatic group of people, all the same age and stage of life. This is a great way to allow the generations to see themselves and others in significant places of service as the church gathers.
6. Telling stories
Tell stories in your worship services as sermon illustrations, interviews, or even an occasional video of what the Lord is doing through people in the church. Be sure stories highlight different generations serving the church, the community, and the world. This will elevate the importance of younger and older adults alike in the local church and grow their admiration and appreciation for one another as well.
In the worship services of every church, there are certain roles and elements that we sometimes feel can’t be touched. Consider all of them as opportunities to communicate oneness among the generations, and I believe wholeheartedly that your young adults will learn the value of generational appreciation and the church gathered.