Two weekends ago I attended BASS: Bay Area Sunday School Convention. I went to a few workshops focused on Young Adult Ministries. I came away feeling a bit guilty because most of these years while working with what I refer to, of course, as “the younger generation”, I constantly scratch my head and wonder, “What’s wrong with these kids? Why are you guys like that?” I’m sure it’s no different from what the generation before mine wondered about MY generation. I attended one workshop entitled “Generations…The Unbroken Chain: Ministry Through the Ages.” The speaker went through the different generations from the G.I Generation (born 1900-1924) up to the most recent, Bridger Generation (born 1982-1995) describing what worldly changes or events influenced the way they lived and thought. For example, for the Bridger Generation (aka Millenials), they had witnessed the terror of 9/11, listened to their president lie to their faces on camera, and have seen the rise in and effects of divorced families. As a result, the Millenials are considered to be the most serious and worried generation. A lot of what they do and think is motivated by their desire for stability.
What does this all have to do with church? Well, the young adult age, which can be defined between the ages of 18-30 tend to drop out of church in droves. Why is that? Perhaps it is because the church isn’t meeting the needs of that particular generation. As I had mentioned earlier, I came away from BASS feeling guilty. It was because I saw I had been more condemning than understanding of the next generation. Just because all the generations do things differently, it doesn’t mean they are wrong. Their perceptions were a result of the experiences from their time.
What I hope to do is to open some dialogue with the young adults because that is the best way to understand them. Here is a list from a handout: What Will Really Destroy a Young Adult Ministry:
- If all your people do is sit in the pews
- If you refuse to listen to them
- If you refuse to put them to work
- If you do Bible study the same you have for the last 50 years
- If you don’t create opportunities for them to interact and get to know people like them
What do you guys think? Is it true? Do you feel your church is relevant to you for your age? Does your church engage your age group? What is missing? Or what does your church do that keeps you going?