Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Next Gen - Do You Have Common Language?

In a church ministry context it's always a challenge to create and implement consistency across children, student and young adult ministries.  We're trying to figure it out.  

Last Saturday ALL our next gen volunteers gathered for a time of training, encouragement and inspiration.  In our ministry context next gen includes...

children's ministry, 
middle school ministry, 
high school ministry, 
college ministry, 
young adult ministry and
parenting ministry.

This was our first shot at having all our volunteers in the same room.  To be honest, I was afraid some of our people would not understand WHY we were doing a portion of the training together.  What does a 27 year old young adult small group leader have in common with a volunteer who rocks babies?  We aren't finished with our debrief but so far the response has been very positive.  Everyone loved knowing their a part of a bigger story and moving to a common goal.  The enthusiasm was and is incredible.

One of the positive results of moving to a next gen model has been the common language and heart that has emerged from our next gen staff.  For example, we have a list of guiding principles we developed to help us stay aligned with what's important. 

Because every age group benefits from exposure to other generations,
we value thoughtful opportunities for intergenerational connections.

Because true life change happens primarily in the context of relationship,
we value life on life ministry driven by loving connection.

Because Jesus revealed moralism cannot save us,
we value teaching that centers on the transforming gospel of grace.

Because God’s Word is living and active,
we value Biblical Truth that sets us free.

Because growing in Christ results in compassion for others,
we value equipping children, youth and adults to serve our Body and the world.

Because a vibrant relationship with God is more often caught than taught,
we value leadership that models an authentic walk with Jesus.

Because parents have a major role in the discipleship of their kids,
we value partnerships with parents, including parental involvement and equipping.

It's important that our volunteers are familiar with these principles as well.

Last Saturday we also decided to do a portion of our small group leaders training together. The training focused on 3 priorities for all our small groups. (k - young adults)

The priorities aren't brand new or earth shattering, but again all our leaders will be moving in the same direction.  Our 3 priorities for next year are..

1.  Create an environment of love and acceptance
2.  Listen more / talk less
3.  Prayer (praying for group members and praying in your group)

The next gen thing is still new to us and we're enjoying learning how it's making us more effective in seeing children, students and young adults transformed by Jesus.

By the way, if you're a next gen or family pastor / director check out NYWC this year.  There's a 2 day round table forum for people who lead ministry broader than student ministry.  I'll be in San Diego and Nashville to be a part.  I'm super excited to grow and learn from like minded people who are providing this kind of overarching leadership.

You can find out more at 


I hope to see you in San Diego or Nashville.  We need your voice.

So, what have you done and are doing to connect all next gen together?  What's been effective? 

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