Did you know our Kids Ministry Team and our Student Ministry Team are all on ONE team together? Together we are the Generations Team and we have been functioning as one team for years now. This is such a healthy dynamic for families at Pulpit Rock – our families have aligned leaders, on the same team, all working towards the same end in mind for our church’s kids and students, from birth to 18 years old. We meet weekly, all around the same table. So Kids Ministry speaks into Student Ministry and vice versa. It’s so healthy and such a holistic approach.
Something we consistently talk about together is how we are doing at integrating our students into the whole church body during our Sunday services. We LOVE our programs that are dedicated entirely to students – PRiSM 56 on Sunday mornings at 10:30 and PRiSM for 7th – 12th grade on Wednesdays nights at 6pm. We know teenagers need time and space that is tailored specifically for them. But a huge value we have as a Generations Team is that our students would know they are a part of a greater body of believers and that they have a seat at the table with the adults.
Did you know that research shows that involvement in all-church worship during high school is more consistently linked with mature faith in teens and young adults than any other form of church participation? That fact warrants repeating! There is no form of church involvement that is as impactful in your teenager’s faith than their involvement in all-church worship during High School.
This is precisely why our Sunday morning programming for students stops after 6th grade. Incoming 7th graders make the shift from only ever attending their own programming on Sunday mornings, separate from the rest of the church – to attending their own programming on Wednesday nights, so that they can join their families and their church family in worshipping and growing together on Sunday mornings.
Without an intentional transition like this, we could have an 18-year-old Senior graduate High School without ever experiencing meaningful connection with their church – outside of their own weekly programs, surrounded by only their peers. No wonder so many brand-new college students have a hard time connecting to a church body. They’ve never been shown how to. They have no idea what that looks like because they’ve always had a separate option provided for them. The next generation needs to be thoughtfully merged into this impactful spiritual rhythm well before they graduate High School.
We realize this can feel like an abrupt transition for our brand new 7th graders. And we realize this puts some tension on you, parents, as you may be hearing more of “I don’t want to go to church on Sunday” or “There’s not anything for me at church on Sundays anymore”. When the reality is, there is A LOT for your teenager on Sunday mornings. We just sometimes have to help them see it.
Every parent wants someone to influence their child’s faith. But what every parent NEEDS is to be empowered to walk in the deep influence they never knew they always had with their own child. I know I need that encouragement as a parent. Our Sunday morning services can help to foster that spiritual relationship with your teenagers and are designed with the family in mind.
Outside of encouraging students to join the rest of the church for our Sunday morning worship services, SERVING is a huge piece of our Generations Ministry strategy. We believe our kids and students find their lives as they give them away. They won’t feel their significance within the church until we give them something significant to do. If we want our children to grow up to be the church – we need to give them a chance to be the church while they are still with us.
With the bulk of student programming happening on Wednesday nights, we give our 7th – 12th-grade students the meaningful opportunity to help us lead our Kids’ programs, or serve on the worship team, or make coffee in The Gathering Place. These significant roles help students feel their own significance!
Church leaders who are truly influencing the next generation place a high and non-negotiable value on students connecting to the entire church in church-wide worship and students being given the opportunity to lead and serve in significant ways.
That is the heart behind why our programs are set up the way they are. And it feels important for me to remind us all of that every now and then. There are good things happening for the kids and students here at Pulpit Rock Church and there is so much thought and intention that goes into every aspect of what we’re doing to love and lead them.
Thank you for partnering with us in the spiritual growth of the next generation!