Thanks to Shivaun Wilkinson for sharing this Great Idea as a BuildingFaith post.
Wilkinson begins with context – one familiar to many congregations: a formerly bustling Sunday school, youth ministry, and young adult set of ministries had dwindled to ‘a few faithful families’, a one-room-school-house form of Sunday School, and very quiet worship services.
When parishioners started complaining about the few kids who showed up not behaving as expected, Wilkinson and the pastor new something had to give.
‘Moving from Irritation to Grace’ sums up this transitional time and outlines the proposal for Prayer Partners: pairing ‘elementary and younger children with members 50 years old and above’.
‘Implementing Prayer Partners’ fleshes out the following suggestions:
- The Invitation – an ‘all-call’, an email, and the most effective: ‘direct individual invitations’
- Thoughtful Pairings – a quiet young reader with an academic; a youthful tree-climber with a nature lover; etc.
- Introductions: personalizing an email template to ensure easy connections
Wilkinson then suggests four annual events and offers ideas through her example of their kick-off Spaghetti Dinner. Food and a new prayer practice are the constants at these events, to which parents are invited, though they are not ‘required’ to attend. The four events follow the liturgical and calendar year, our suggestions include:
- Fall Spaghetti Dinner
- get to know one another
- learn a form of intercessory prayer
- Winter Advent Event
- explore contemplative nature of the season
- engage contemplative crafting via Advent wreath-making
- Spring Easter Evennt
- wonder about the New Life bursting into being
- share video/photography/drawing as prayer form
- Summer Outdoor Gathering
- consider the season of growth/gardens
- share nature-based and/or movement prayer forms
Wilkinson concludes with ‘The Impact: Growing Relationships’, sharing some of the challenges and the joys of Prayer Partners.
The Ministry Lab is well-resourced to support this ministry! We’ve got books galore with creative approaches to fostering these relationships. Emily Meyer is a contemplative prayer small group facilitator who will gladly join you for an introductory or follow-up exploration of contemplative prayer forms. We’ve got three labyrinths for rent (for members). And so many ideas of how this could be a really strong, hopeful, life-giving ministry for all ages!!
Read the full Prayer Partners article here.
Let us know if you try this Great Idea – and be sure to include us if you’d like inspiration, encouragement, or resources!!