Barna Study: Who Has Intergenerational Friendships?

Posted by Liz Perraud at

A new Barna study shows that a majority of Americans report engaging in intergenerational friendships. One’s faith community, according to the study, influences the likelihood of cross-generational connections. Though not the most likely place to meet older or younger friends (that would be the workplace or through a mutual friend), meeting at church/place of worship far exceeded the reported experience of meeting through a mentorship program.

Roxanne Stone, editor in chief of Barna Group observed that “these relationships do not seem to be developing through formal programs—fewer than one in 20 say they formed their intergenerational relationships through a mentor/mentee program. Most of these relationships are happening more organically, through shared activities and affinities. For churches who want to emphasize intergenerational community, this might signal more of a need to teach people how to develop and maintain these relationships rather than implement some kind of ministry for them.” And the church, she says, is primed to foster these relationships.

Foundational to GenOn Ministries’ teachings is understanding how to develop and maintain Christ-centered relationships, for all generations. We believe that these relationships embody the mind and spirit of Christ and reflect risk, vulnerability, commitment and trust as we seek to see others as God sees us. We love partnering with churches to explore what this means and how to be intentional in practice.

Check out Leader Lab: Cultivating Community for a Thriving Church and the Intergenerational Ministry Workshops.

Contact Training Coordinator Betsy Dishman for more information.

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