how do you engage different generations in Gospel-centered conversation? let’s face it many seasoned adults and preteens don’t cross paths much in the church building. that is why we began our secret prayer partner ministry.
each fall we pair up our 5th-grade smasH (students ministering and serving Him) kids with an adult prayer partner in the church. the adult receives a picture and an “about me” sheet to get to know their preteen. then, each month kids receive a letter from their secret adult prayer partner (in life groups). adult prayer partners are given monthly themes to help give them content for their letters. some of the themes include: share your testimony, what is your favorite scripture, how do you study God’s word, etc.
kids have no clue who they are writing. they can ask for hints, but the adults have been instructed not to give out their identity until the end of the year. kids are challenged to write at least five sentences. (if you have ever worked with 5th-grade boys, you know what a challenge this is.) we have to make sure the kids include prayer requests so their secret prayer partner has specifics to pray for throughout the month.
kids are given smasH stationery to write on and they turn in their letters and we mail them out to their secret prayer partners. we take time and reach all preteen letters for red flags. prayer partners can email or drop off their letters. many include candy.
at the end of the year, we do a reveal where all the adults come and line up. the kids try to guess who they have been writing. they then get to meet their adult and they are instructed to pray together. the ultimate goal is for these pre-teens to have yet another adult in the church they can confide in, that can encourage them, and can point them to Jesus.
recently i got an email from a grandmother who was raising her grandson. below is an excerpt of what she shared with me. i am so thankful that God takes a little idea He planed and makes it so much more than we could ever imagine.
“When JT was in 5th grade Danielle put together some Prayer Partners for the kiddos at Dawson. Mr. Beatty and JT were paired. Mr. Beatty and JT wrote some beautiful letters to each other during that time. Mr. Beatty has continued to follow JT and even comes to his concerts.
When Chapel Choir asked about 5 people who had made an impact in his life JT listed Mr. Beatty. Mr. Beatty wrote JT a wonderful letter for Choir Tour and was at the Chapel Choir Homecoming Concert. In his letter Mr. Beatty asked JT to call him when they got back so they could have lunch. He wanted to hear all about the mission trip.
On Sunday Mr. Beatty asked me if JT liked Chick-Fil-A. I reminded him that JT was a 14 year old boy and he just liked food. Mr. Beatty said, ‘well you what a teenage boy is don’t you….he’s an appetite wrapped in skin!’ They had lunch together on Tuesday and JT got to tell Mr. Beatty all about Chapel Choir Tour.
Mr. Beatty and JT have been thoughtful, prayerful friends for 6 years. This precious example of our intergenerational church started in the Children’s Ministry and continues to be lived out and now be part of our Music Ministry.
You don’t always get to know how far-reaching what you do is. You don’t always get to know the impact your actions can have on people. You don’t always get to see God’s handiwork. So here’s a glimpse……”