The statistics are staggering. The older a child gets today, the greater his or her chances are of disappearing from the church. The church must intentionally plan to reverse this trend.
Grace Community Church is built around a desire to reach people who may not have previously been interested in church. We love when people bring their friends. This vision extends to reaching the youth of our community. Along the way, we’ve learned a few things.
If the church wants to reach young people these days, here are 7 things we must do:
Love them – Young people today seem to crave genuine, no strings attached, healthy love from other adults…and they want it to be unconditional love…through the good times of their life and the times they mess up.
Be biblically true – Young people today don’t seem to want fluff. They want an authentic, honest approach to the Bible. Whether they believe all of it yet or not, they want people who say they believe it to teach what they believe…and be willing to discuss it with them if needed.
Be culturally relevant – Young people today have been exposed to the problems, challenges, and changes in the world today. They are more socially conscious than in years past. They want the church to be addressing the needs they see in the world around them.
Give them a place to serve and support them in their pursuits – Young people today want to make a difference. They want to be a part of change. They want to serve somewhere they believe is doing good work and makes a positive impact on the world and they may even want to help lead the effort.
Value their ideas and input – You have to allow young people to do things their way…with technology…within groups of friends…sometimes unscripted…etc. A church that is bent on protecting the past over creating the future turns young people away from the church.
Be genuine/transparent with them – Young people today want to learn from the mistakes of those older than them. Pretending as if we’ve always been wonderful doesn’t help them deal with the issues they are dealing with today. They need living examples of battling life’s temptations, struggles, and fears.
Guide them – Young people today want direction. They want help making life’s decisions, but they want it done in a way that helps them understand wise choices, but gives them freedom to choose their own path. Young people today need adults who will walk with them through the obstacles they face on a daily basis.
What would you add to my list? How is your church reaching the youth of today?
BTW, notice I didn’t say anything about music. It’s a bonus if you give them worship styles they enjoy, but I’m not convinced it’s a necessity if the others on this list are kept.