Younger Generations of Women

Summary of Insights, Challenges and Experiments from Mission Summit Conversations (June 2013)

  • Insights
    • Young leaders want to be talked to – listened to, not at or about.
    • Ministries need to help “Bridge the Gap” at age or transition points for young women. Challenges exist in this area at junior high, between high school and college, after college into adulthood and for women when they marry or especially if they remain single.
  • Challenges
    • Ministries need to help “Bridge the Gap” at age or transition points for young women. Challenges exist in this area at junior high, between high school and college, after college into adulthood and for women when they marry or especially if they remain single.
    • We need to think about programming that consistently brings young women to spiritual “highs” but does not carry them forward into a spiritually strong daily life. Young women feel a hunger to shape their identity from God but this takes mentoring, freedom to explore and experience and feel assurance and support in the process.
  • Experiments
    • Have “listening sessions” in our own churches. Intergenerational ones with people of all ages sharing the story of their lives and how God is at work in our lives and what we have learned from each other.
    • The young women in this group felt that having a mentor that was just a transition past their own experience would be very helpful in bridging the gap of generations and helping those women with the life/developmental transitions they are experiencing and heading toward.
    • Foster intergenerational fun activities that allow for informal conversations.
    • Since much of the involvement of young women seems to develop through temporary, ad-hoc groups that come together for a specific purpose, there is a possibility of connecting this activity with the Missional Church Learning Experience (MCLE) sponsored by ABHMS which encourages local congregation to be involved in missional activity that is often energized by mission teams, rather than established church structures. We also became aware that many campus ministries are focusing on leadership development programs for young women and perhaps there is much to learn from what is happening in these forums.


Summary of Insights, Challenges and Experiments from the Mission Table (November 2013)

  • Insights
    • Even if younger women go to events (i.e. ABW) they do not have a role in defining the agenda/topic. Even when they offer to contribute, sometimes they are not given the opportunity to do so
    • Younger women need to be given the opportunity to participate and be a leader in churches
    • Younger women need space and opportunity within the congregation to express their concerns about and vision of the church and the Christian faith
  • Challenges
    • It is very difficult to move older and/or ineffective people out of positions in churches; churches as a whole struggle with this reality
    • Churches who are aging may not even have young people in the church at all; where do they even begin to have ways to bridge the gap?
  • Experiments/Projects
    • Some women just do not know how to even start conversation across generations; sometime it’s easier to build relationships with people two generations away (e.g. grandchild-grandmother vs. child/parent)
    • (Taken from a good news story shared by a table participant) Creative church mergers between aging congregations and multigenerational churches where younger people take leadership in former church
    •  (Taken from a church that is already doing this) Women holding leadership positions mentoring assistants who are at least 10-20 years younger – build this into the fabric of the church
    • Identify people who have a connectional gift (bridge-builder or even helping people start conversation with each other) – between generations, cliques, church & community; lift up this gift as crucial in the life of the congregation

 

Read the full notes:

Mission Summit Conversations:

Mission Table:

 
RETURN to the Learnings from the Mission Summit and Mission Table

Views expressed are the sole opinion of conversation participants. They do not express the views of American Baptist Churches USA, or individual American Baptist churches. Conversation notes and summaries are shared to allow American Baptists and friends to easily review and use these Mission Summit Conversations and the Mission Table learnings as they wish.


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