Why Are Your Friends So Old?

We recently partnered with Youth Ministry 360 to publish a few blogs for their website. We want to share them with you! Below is a blog written by our Ministry Assistant, Mary Elizabeth Haynes. 

I am a creature of habit. A love of good coffee, good quiche, and familiarity keeps me coming back to Niedlov’s, a quaint little breakfast place here in Chattanooga. I recently met my friend Bailey there for breakfast before she went to school. Bailey is sixteen; I am twenty-six. It was her first time eating there.

One of the beautiful things about Niedlov’s is the people. Most of us are regulars and our order is known before we have time to speak it. As we sat there enjoying both the ministry of small talk and pondering some of God’s goodness, Bailey began to notice something about the people I was exchanging hellos with— they were all older than me. She asked, “Who was that? How do you know him?” I responded, “That is my friend Dave. We go to church together. And that’s Hamilton, we see each other here at least once a week if not more. Oh, and that’s my friend Anna, she stops in on her way to work down the street.”

I could see the bewilderment on her face. “Mary Elizabeth, why are your friends so old?” It was a simple statement, but one that spoke volumes. There are ten years and a few life stages between Bailey and me, but her friendship is one of God’s kindest gifts to me. We parted ways, Bailey on her way to school and I on my way to work. As I drove to my office, a series of questions began to bounce around in my mind.

When did it become the norm to engage and interact with others who belong only to our same generation? Where did we learn this? How do we unlearn it? There is a real problem and the problem is this: we have failed to make friends across generational lines.

Recognizing the problem is not a difficult thing to do. Moving towards a solution, however, is a more arduous task. It is not always easy to engage those that are different than we are. This is especially true of the “generational gap.” It’s scary.

Most of the time we really do need help. We need someone or something to aid us in leaning into the truth of Ephesians 2, the truth that Jesus really does break down every barrier that might divide us, even the barrier of generations. We need help understanding that our point of connection isn't our age but rather knowing that we are all broken and in need of Jesus. It is when we grasp this truth that we are then able to move toward one another no matter our age. As bold as it may be, I truly believe that the Pray for Me Campaign is one of the best aids in encouraging people from every generation to begin moving toward one another.

And this is how it was always meant to be right? The Scriptures are full of intergenerational relationships. I believe this is what God intended for his church. Every young person should have multiple natural relationships with adults decades older than them. My hope is that Bailey, and every young person would have friendships that cause people ask, “why are your friends so old?”

The blessings that come from the Pray for Me Campaign seem to be endless.  As churches engage and participate in the Pray for Me Campaign, what once seemed a gap too big to close is now a little less daunting. What once seemed so foreign is now becoming normal.

Would you prayerfully consider joining me in bridging the gap? Visit www.prayformecampaign.com for more information.

Mary Elizabeth is our Ministry Assistant. If you have any questions at all about who we are or what we do, she’s your go-to person! Mary Elizabeth grew up in Alabama and graduated from Auburn University where she studied Communication Disorders and Human Development. After graduation, she served on staff with RUF at Texas Christian University for three years before moving to Chattanooga in July. Mary Elizabeth lives in St. Elmo, loves a good hike, good coffee, a good book and a good taco.

The Pray for Me Campaign is the Secret Sauce of Intergenerational Ministry.

We recently partnered with Youth Ministry 360 to publish a few blogs for their website. We want to share them with you! Read below what Andy Blanks had to say about the Pray for Me Campaign. 

The Pray for Me Campaign is the Secret Sauce of Intergenerational Ministry!

When I first heard about the Pray for Me Campaign, I was intrigued by both the simplicity and the power of the idea of connecting generations through prayer. Actually, there are several simple key ingredients that, when combined in just the right way, makes a compelling intergenerational ministry “secret sauce.” A church that embraces intergenerational ministry is a healthy church. Plain and simple. It’s vital that churches have a clear concept for helping spiritually invest in the next generation.

Here is how the basic premise of the Pray for Me Campaign works: students are equipped to invite three adults from three different generations to be their Prayer Champions for a school year. The Prayer Champions, in turn, use the Pray for Me Campaign Prayer Guide, which helps them pray Scripture over students through 7 Essential categories.


Ingredient number 1 is Prayer.

The Pray for Me Campaign is centered on prayer. Prayer makes the opportunity for investing in the next generation accessible to every believing adult in the Church. Don’t let the simplicity of this ingredient fool you. Adults who would most likely never become youth leaders or mentors for a student because it feels too daunting are willing to step up and pray. In fact, there are over 16,000 adults from 230 churches in 34 states who have stepped up and said yes to being Prayer Champions for the next generation. The simplicity of starting with prayer makes investing in students accessible to the entire church in an exponential way.

Ingredient number 2 is the Invitation.

Students are equipped to invite three adults from three different generations to be their Prayer Champions. This invitation takes place at what is called “The Pray for Me Campaign Launch Event.” At this event, there will be adults from every generation who are willing to be Prayer Champions for the students. It is at this launch event that the students invite one adult from each generation to be their personal Prayer Champions for the school year. Something supernatural seems to take place when students make this invitation. It is as if an invisible relational bridge is built between the student and the adult through this simple act of inviting. Once this relational bridge is built, it makes it easy for the adult to cross that bridge during the year when they see each other at church. There is something powerful that takes place when a student looks into the eyes of an adult and asks, “Will you pray for me?”

Ingredient number 3 is Praying Scripture.

I love this ingredient. Praying Scripture is such a powerful way to pray and the Pray for Me Campaign has a Prayer Guide that makes it easy for adults to pray scripture for students specifically through the lens of what Tony Souder calls the 7 Essentials. The 7 Essentials are categories that come from two passages of Scripture, Luke 2:52 (wisdom and favor) and 1 Timothy 4:12(speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity). Praying for students through the lens of the 7 Essentials allows me to make sure I am praying for things that will nurture and sustain them throughout their lives. As a Prayer Champion, I can get prayer requests from my student but even if they never tell me what to pray for I have a track to run on.

If you have been trying to figure out a natural way to bridge the gap between generations, I would urge you to check out the Pray for Me Campaign at prayformecampaign.com

Andy Blanks is the co-founder and Publisher for ym360. If it’s a blog post, resource, or workshop, Andy had his hands on it. Andy has been designing Bible study and discipleship resources for youth ministers since 2003. He lives in Birmingham, AL with his wonderful wife Brendt, their three daughters, and one son. He’s a pretty big fan of both the Boston Red Sox and anything involving the Auburn Tigers. When he’s not hanging out with his family or volunteering at his church’s youth ministry, you can find Andy trail running or mountain biking. Follow Andy on Instagram: andy_blanks
Gallery Block
This is an example. To display your Instagram posts, double-click here to add an account or select an existing connected account. Learn more