Young Adults and the Church

From my experience with working with young adults (and being one myself), this article rings true in many ways.  For years, the church seems to have adopted this “dumb it down” approach to bible discussion and application. Today we tell our young adults to challenge themselves by going to tough universities and striving to learn the depths that it has to offer.  However, at the same time, the church has historically had the attitude that we don’t need to teach depth and meaningful application, but rather it has seemed that the church sees its mission (especially down south) as teaching Bible classes with children in mind by asking questions like “now paul went to Damascus…who does the Bible say went to Damascus?”  These are not always bad questions, they certainly have their place but if that is as deep as we ever go, it is no wonder young adults are feeling unchallenged and unfulfilled.  I agree with Frank that we are not only about meeting needs, but if the body is doing what it should be, it will be meeting those needs as a byproduct.

I guess a good question is, how do we continue to support and strengthen our brothers and sisters who are in the young adult age (and especially those who go off to college for a few years)?

Young Adults (in my experience) want to be part of something that is:

  • Communal
  • Accountable
  • Respectful
  • Evangelical (verbal and behavioral)

I call this the C.A.R.E. Principle (if you would like to read more about what I have to say, see an article I wrote one it a while back at http://joshualfreeman.wordpress.com/2009/04/18/why-we-c-a-r-e/).

The young adults I have met are a mixed bag.  Some are out for “what can this church do for me” but many more are wanting to make a difference for Christ.  It’s a balancing act, we don’t want the church to become just another service organization, but we don’t want to take that important aspect out of it either.

I would agree with Frank’s e-mail.  The answer to our prayers is not necessarily small groups, youth groups, etc.  These are only secondary and only aids to the love of our family in Christ.  They can be used as tools, but we must not focus on those being the salvation of a congregation (if that makes sense).  If we look at the early church, as Frank said, they didn’t require these things.  It’s kind of like many who think the reason we aren’t reaching souls is because we don’t have a wonderful building.  To tell the truth, if we aren’t reaching souls in the building we’re in, we won’t reach them in a new building.  If we aren’t reaching out to young adults right now, we probably wont reach out to them with a fancy new program unless we instill the need in our hearts first and begin reaching out where we are now.

We are a family, we need to reach the young adults, they are getting lost in the church and there is a sense of “we’re here when you have a family.”  However, how do we begin reaching them starting with were we are?  As you know, Katie and I started with our friends in Richmond by just being involved in their lives.  We saw them multiple times throughout the week for many reasons.  Eventually we began inviting a few of them to gather at our house for food, wii bowling, and a short talk about the bible (note that we already began bible conversations with them before the “official” invite).  I believe it is because we were a family first that it grew exponentially.  What i’m getting at is, I think it would be great to start a life group for the 20-30ish age, but we need to make sure to integrate them into the working of the church family as a whole as well.

Everybody wants somewhere that they belong and somewhere that they feel needed.  If we, as the body of Christ, go out of our way to love others, it will:  1) create this sense of belonging and being needed and 2) will organically grow spiritually and numerically.

What thoughts do you have concerning this?

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