This post was originally published and featured on leadertreks.org.
Have you ever noticed that churches are divided by age and programming?
Adults, children, and students have separate programming uniquely designed for them. Couples with young children meet in their designated small groups at a separate time and place from seniors. Young adults get together with one another for fellowship and Bible Study. Kids meet on Sunday mornings for children’s ministry lessons. And students come together for youth group on Wednesday nights.
Churches Have Silos
Whether we realize it or not, our churches have silos.
You might even think of how your church building is divided. The children’s wing is separate from the main sanctuary. The seniors meet in the fireside room, while the students gather in the basement. And the young adults meet somewhere off campus.
Silos Lead To…
While it’s true that customized programming helps us to meet the unique needs of each generation, our “silo” approach to church ministry has led to separation, competition and a lack of unity.
Separation means that the generations are disconnected from one another and are less able to mutually encourage one another. In most churches, it’s rare that seniors are given space to pass along wisdom to young families. It’s uncommon to see young adults connected to believers in other generations. And it’s unusual to see these groups coming together to learn and grow alongside each other.
Churches with disconnected generations are more likely to experience competition. It may be that these groups argue over who needs more space or who needs a bigger budget. It’s feasible that churches could fall into a dangerous numbers game, trying to demonstrate that a given ministry is having more impact than another. It may even be that the interests of some groups are entirely neglected because there’s no one to advocate for them.
Lack of Unity
It’s also common that “silo” churches display a lack of unity. They tend to be more divided than unified when it comes to fulfilling the church’s God-given mission. Consider these questions. Does every age group know the overall mission of the church? Does the church at-large know what’s happening in the children’s ministry or the youth ministry? Is it more likely that age groups and small groups will serve separately rather than together?
Changing the Trajectory
And then I want you to ask yourself, “What would is look like if we broke down the walls between the generations? What would it look like if we eliminated the silos?”
What if your church came together to pray for one another? Would it be possible to see every student or child prayed for by an adult in your church?
It’s time to change the trajectory of our churches. We need to move away from our “silos” and begin to link the generations together.
And here’s where the Pray for Me Campaign can help.
The Pray For Me Campaign
The Pray For Me Campaign is a church-wide initiative that equips adult believers from every generation to pray for children and students. It’s uniquely designed to link the generations of your church together through prayer.
Imagine a scenario where every child and student at your church was seeking out an adult each week to pray for them. That is a picture of how generations come together through the Pray for Me Campaign.
Listen to this story from Bobby, a student pastor in Ringgold, Georgia.
“Since launching the Pray for Me Campaign in September, we have seen an untold impact on what I would call the invisible link between teenagers and the church as a whole. Too many times, youth ministry is done in a vacuum or a silo as if what is done at the youth gatherings has no significance or bearing on the church as a whole. Launching the Pray for Me Campaign has brought the needs of students to the forefront of the thoughts of many adults who were previously disconnected from our youth ministry.
Maybe you have been waiting for your church to care about students? A great way to inspire care is to give individuals a pathway to caring. Most adults think students don’t care what they think but students will always engage with an authentic loving adult. So let’s give the generations a chance to understand each other and care for each other.
Here’s what Ryan, a student pastor in Chattanooga, Tennessee had to say about his experience.
The Pray for Me Campaign has had a deep and lasting impact on the life of our church. Students and families have seen and experienced change. Older generations, through the catalyst of prayer, have been folded into the mission and vision of the student ministry. Prayer, using the prayer guide, reorders our lives and takes us farther away from the sin that entered in the garden, namely, that you can’t trust the goodness of God or His commitment to our happiness and well-being.
It is easy to sometimes forget our role in the life of the church. We just show up on Sunday and allow the professionals to handle the rest. The Pray for Me Campaign “reorders our loves.” Our church, in the midst of transition, has seen the student ministry remain constant in Kingdom impact. I have no doubt this is a direct impact of the Pray for Me Campaign. Having an army of Prayer Champions praying Scripture-saturated prayers has aided in the student ministry.
Now more than ever we need to bring our churches together. It’s time to move beyond the negative effects of silos and create stronger ties between the generations. Prayer for students is needed, connection for adults to our students is vital, and unified churches will bring glory to God.