Making Friends Across the Generations

by Paige Evers

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You probably remember what it feels like to walk into a new church for the first time.  Besides taking in the layout of the building and the look of the sanctuary, you were aware of the other people.  Did anyone say hello to you?  Did people notice that you were new?  Did they introduce themselves and ask for your name?

Now imagine being a child in a church.  For a lot of children, all they see are the grown-ups knees! But there are some adults that they remember and even look for each week.  What makes the difference? 

When an adult takes an interest in a child, the child notices.  After a few hellos, high fives, fist bumps, or conversations, an intergenerational friendship can begin.

Faith Connections at Reformation Lutheran Church is all about making time for those intergenerational friendships to begin and to grow.  I’m thankful that my kids rarely want to sit with me at Faith Connections.  They want to get their donuts and sit with their friends.  A lot of time those friends are their own age or in their age range.  Other times, they are adults who they know, feel comfortable with, and want to catch up with while they’re at church (after all, they see me every day!)

There’s no magic formula for fostering intergenerational friendships.  Young people have gifts, stories, and God moments to share, and so do adults.  If you’d like to get to know some of your younger brothers and sisters in Christ, there are some really easy ways to show young people that you care.

These fifteen ways to show kids that you care are from the book we’re reading and discussing in the Sunday morning Parenting Group this year.  It’s called The Sticky Faith Guide for Your Family by Dr. Kara E. Powell. 

Take a look at this list and think about what you’re already doing to get to know the young people that God has placed in your life. 

Pick one or two actions that you can try to show kids that you care.  You may be surprised by some new friendships that form when you make a small effort to connect with kids, and when they are encouraged by your actions to connect with you.

Fifteen Ways to Show Kids (Yours and Others’) That You Care
From The Sticky Faith Guide for your Family by Dr. Kara E. Powell

1.     Ask them about school.

2.     Find out their extracurricular activity schedule and go to at least one game, recital, or show.

3.     Call them and sing to them on their birthday.

4.     Swing by their house with ice cream after they’ve had a spectacular day.

5.     Swing by their house with ice cream after they’ve had a lousy day.

6.     Keep your promises, no matter how small.

7.     Text them and share your three favorite things about them.

8.     Find out their favorite candy and give it to them for no reason at all.

9.     Give them your undivided attention.

10.  Ask them how you can be praying for them.  And then pray.

11.  A week after you’ve asked them how you can be praying for them, loop back and find out how they’re doing.

12.  Learn their top hobbies or interests and then connect them with someone you know who can teach them more about what’s special to them.

13.  Let them choose the music in the car, and learn why they lean toward that style.

14.  Send them something—anything—in the mail.

15.  Give them your phone number and let them know they can call you at any time, whether they need help or just to talk.

Not too hard, is it?  What are your thoughts about this list?  Anything you’d add?  What’s a way that you show kids in your life that you care?

A great way to get started is to attend Faith Connections on Sunday mornings at 9:45 a.m.  Look for the donuts and you’ll find the children.  A friendship can start with something as simple as a smile and asking a child their name, their age, and any simple thing about them.  A child might be shy or not used to talking to adults, and that’s ok.  A simple smile can communicate that you’re glad they’re there. 

Be more than a pair of knees to the children you see at church.  When we make connections across the generations, we can all grow in our faith and discover the blessings of friendship.

Feel free to leave a comment with your ideas, and thanks for reading!

Welcome to the Faith Connections Blog

Welcome by Paige Evers

French toast sticks, donuts, cheese and crackers, and deviled eggs.  Coffee, tea, and juice.  No, this isn’t the menu of a brand-new, fancy brunch restaurant.  This is Faith Connections at Reformation Lutheran Church. 

From 9:45-10:45 a.m. on most Sundays of the school year, you can “Go in peace and serve the Lord” from the 8:30 a.m. worship service and go straight to the Fellowship Hall for conversation and refreshments.  Or you can come to church at 9:45 a.m. and enjoy food before various learning groups begin for all ages, and then attend worship at 11 a.m.

The food at Faith Connections is a great draw that brings our church family and visitors together.  And the food and coffee leads to so much more: sharing our lives and questions and God-moments with one another. 

Whenever I come into the Fellowship Hall on Sunday mornings, I have that great feeling of entering a party in progress.  Small groups of people talking over their bites of muffin.  Kids clamoring for one more donut hole.  Some weeks, Gail is getting her music stand and guitar ready, so you know that great singing with the assembled group is coming. 

I love the swirl of activity and conversation, and the feeling that this is a church home for so many people.  It’s like a family reunion every week.  “How was your trip to Florida?”  “What’s been going on?”  “How was the middle school dance on Friday night?”  “How is your granddaughter doing?”  “How did your job interview go?”  Or a friendly hello and introducing oneself to a visitor: “Hi, my name is ________.  What brought you to Reformation?  We’re so glad you’re here!”  These are some of the conversations one might overhear on a typical Sunday morning at Faith Connections.

After the food and fellowship, the Faith Connections leader usually introduces the theme of the day, or highlights one of the church’s ministries, or starts us off with singing with all of the ages together.  Often, the opening time for Faith Connections ties in with the most recent ReCreation event.  This could be a brief group game that reviews the theme of the ReCreation event, or a discussion of a Bible story that we didn’t have time to discuss in detail at the event.

All of this happens in about 15-20 minutes, if you can believe it!  But wait, Faith Connections isn’t over yet!  After the conversation, food, praise singing, or other learning moments, different age groups meet to talk about God, Jesus, and faith at their own levels. 

The Nursery is available for the youngest ones, and there is a class for Pre-K through 5th grade.  The Youth meets with their leader.  The Parenting Group gathers moms and dads to talk about passing on faith and to share the highs and lows of family life.  An Adult Bible Study meets during this hour as well.

So come to Faith Connections and check it out some Sunday if you haven’t already!  In just one hour on Sunday mornings, Reformation Lutheran Church offers connections with your brothers and sisters in Christ over food, coffee, conversation, and learning.  We want to get to know you beyond one hour of worship together. 

So let us hear from you on our new blog!  What have some of your favorite moments from Faith Connections been so far this year?  (Besides the delicious deviled eggs and donuts!)  What questions do you have about Faith Connections? 

We’d love to hear from you and to continue shaping Faith Connections to help YOU get connected with our congregation.  Thank you for sharing your thoughts and comments!