Lest you think that only adults can invest in children and students– think again. One of the main areas where children and students seem to be more proficient is technology. While there are doubtless many more areas of life children and students are capable of helping adults, there is no greater gap than in technology. Even I, as a Gen Xer, remember what it was like not to have a computer in my home, let alone the internet in the palm of my hand at any given moment. There are times I rely on my own children to help me navigate certain aspects of technology unfamiliar to me…and that’s totally okay.
I constantly hear from older adults in my church that tell me that their grandchild has helped them set up their phone or computer. It got me to thinking: I wonder if there are others in our church that might need the help from someone younger and more technologically savvy. I bet there are. Regularly offer opportunities or time frames for adults in your church who need technological help to get the help they need. While many adults are frustrated with technology that doesn’t seem to make sense to them, many young people don’t remember a world without technology at their fingertips and can help easily. It’s interesting to watch young people work with older adults when they know more than they do. Many young people don’t understand an older adult’s frustration and need to be coached on how to be patient and thorough when working with older adults on training them how to use their technology. Most of the time the result is a very grateful older person who is thrilled to be able to use their phone or computer and a young person who feels validated from helping someone. It’s a win-win.
- Recruit willing technology helpers (can be all ages, so look for variety of ages).
- Decide what technology helps you might offer (help with phones or tablets or even computers. Could even be training to run audio, visuals, or lighting in your church.
- Publicize a time for technology training for older adults (or anyone who needs help).
- Prepare the trainers to ask specific questions not only about the problems they have with technology but other engagement questions to build relationships. For instance, where did you grow up? When did you come to faith? What is your favorite worship song? The list is endless…get creative.
- Make sure the trainers and trainees exchange contact information on a card that also includes at lease one prayer request for each person.
- Follow up
This is just one example of how young(er) people can serve older adults with some intentional steps to foster relationships between old and young in a very practical way. In fact I regularly depend on young people in my own church to train all ages with certain audio, visual, and lighting throughout our church campus. Young people want to serve; give them opportunities. The church of all ages seeks ways to promote ways that all people can serve each other through their own strengths.