How confident are you that your teens will continue to grow in their faith after high school? It’s a scary question because the answer forces us to evaluate our ministry’s effectiveness.
At the same time the responsibility to grow next generation disciples doesn’t just fall on the youth ministry. It’s a church wide effort because you cannot guarantee people will come back when they get married or have kids. To bridge the gap you need to:
BE WILLING TO ENTER THE MESS
Young adult ministry is an ever changing field. Some are going to mature quicker than others. They are in transitioning into unchartered territory and there isn’t always stability.
Your job is to help them find that stability, to trust in something solid and that’s a relationship with Jesus Christ and the local church.
GIVE THEM A REASON TO RETURN
It’s no longer as simple as saying, “Go to church because it’s important.” Many people are wondering, “Why?” Start addressing that question early on in your youth ministry.
Make sure the next generation is leaving knowing why being connected to a local church matters. At the same time create environments and opportunities for young adults to feel connected.
Make it clear how they can serve and get involved. Invite them into conversations about the church and even give them responsibility. When they see that they have a role and purpose they are more likely to come back.
CONNECT THEM INTO ENGAGING RELATIONSHIPS
You aren’t going to win next generation with more programs. There is too much competing for their time and attention. With a fear of missing out you need to give them something deeper.
Connecting them into a relationship will give them that something more. Build a team of adults who are committed to reaching out and being available to the young adults in this transitional season of life.
CONSTANTLY SPEAK INTO THEIR LIVES
To earn their commitment you need to consistently communicate into their lives. Phone calls, text messages, emails, and direct messages are all necessary.
Now that might sound overwhelming and that’s why building a team is so important. Bottom line you cannot over communicate with them. They are a generation that wants to be connected.
KEEP STUDYING FUTURE GENERATIONS
Recognizing that there is a mix and range of demographics is so important. While you could create opportunities for all of them you need to start somewhere. To know where to start you have to know:
Which group will have the largest impact?
Is it college students because most of them stay in town after graduation? Or is it young, single professionals finding their roots? Get to know your audience and start with those who are going to return the investment.
While you will need to create opportunities for them to connect don’t make that your only action. Take your time, listen to them and learn more about what they are facing.
When you reach out to future generations you not only connect a new group to Christ, you bridge a gap and help people see that Jesus is a part of every step of the journey.
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