Bridging the Age Gap in Our Faith Through Mentorship
There is a separation between younger people and older people in the communities of faith. There is the regular ministry and the youth ministry. The youth ministry is a chill environment for making friends and being encouraged by other young people. Youth ministry is awesome. Youth ministry completely changed my life.
Though it’s an amazing tool, I think there is a lack of vital relationship between adults and teenagers/young adults. If there is any relationship at all it’s usually a “small talk only” kind of thing. Young people stick with young people and older adults are not likely to reach out to them.
Partly, I think this is because our culture sometimes pits us against each other. The young are viewed as lively, while older are portrayed as close minded. We rarely think with the mindset of a community. We are each independent individuals who go their own way. It’s sometimes even considered rude to offer tips or advise.
An experienced adult might reach out, trying to help a younger person, only to be scoffed at.
Think: “Can you believe that lady just told me how to raise my son?!”
But I think what we desperately needs is more conversation between the age groups. I believe we could benefit immensely by deepening our relationships with spiritually mature adults through mentorship.
We are facing an increasingly God-hating world. A world that calls us ugly names like small-minded and homophobes; anti-progressives. Our whole culture is opposed to the God of Israel. We can’t expect to magically waltz through life, unscathed by our society.
Young people are contemplating current issues like sexuality, politics, and women’s empowerment, to name just a few.
Modern topics aren’t really being addressed on a large scale in the faith; but that’s ok because we could benefit by just having these conversations with our elders around us. Their opinions and experience could present something we’ve never thought about.
What I would like to see is teenagers and young adults starting conversations. I challenge my young readers to pursue a real friendship with a spiritually mature parent, friend, or acquaintance. Communicate and open the door for healthy debate about modern controversies or doubts. Listen with the intention of understanding.
I want to encourage parents and adults to reach out to young people beyond small talk. Ask questions about present-day topics and listen without being offended. Have a conversation, don’t preach.
We need to bridge this age divide. It’s time for us to go deeper, to quench our fear of the uncomfortable conversations. This world is getting more and more messy. We can’t sit back and just leave each other alone anymore. We’ve got to start talking.