One of the purposes of a church family is for children and teens to spend time with Christians in various age groups. Studies have found the separation of age groups from each other in Bible classes, activities and worship is actually detrimental to spiritual health and growth in the long run. Other than in worship service, what are some fun ways you can pair up two Bible classes of even wildly varying ages and foster spiritual mentoring relationships in the process?
(Important note. Please make sure you are extremely careful about safety procedures when pairing classes that have more than a couple of years in age difference. These experiences are meant to be positive – and not potentially expose young people to scarring or dangerous situations.)
Here are some great ways two Bible classes with different age groups can have fun while learning together.
- Service projects
- Gift discovery events (adults helping younger people experiment with their gift and explaining how they have used it to serve God)
- Celebrating holidays (perhaps hosting a celebration for yet a third group – like an elementary and middle school Bible class working together to plan and host a Valentine’s celebration for widows and widowers)
- Appreciation projects (like thanking Bible class teachers, elders, parents, etc.)
- Bible knowledge competitions (from my experience – with a little preparation, children can often beat their parents!)
- Field trips (to local museums with artifacts from Bible times and cultures on display, hikes or other experiences exposing everyone to God’s creation, etc.)
- Dramas (a church I’m aware of adapts a popular fairy tale every holiday season to teach a biblical principle and the cast contains children and adults)
- Creating something for a third age group (like fun family devotionals or picture books teaching biblical principles or a class teaching a Christian Life Skill)
- Creating a Bible “museum” or other educational display for the entire congregation to experience
Don’t be afraid to be creative. Allow both age groups to participate in the planning and execution of the activity or project. Make sure it is structured so it is safe, fun and you reach your spiritual goals for the time both groups spend together. Spend time with each group separately after the experience to reflect on what they learned from the experience and the people in the other age group. Helping people of different ages in your church build spiritual family type relationships is good for them and your church as a whole.