The church, the body of Christ, cannot afford to miss a generation. I have been in churches that are missing various age groups. Sometimes the gaps are in younger age groups, meaning there are few preschoolers and children. In other churches, the gap may occur in middle adults. Sometimes, there are multiple gaps. The tendency in many churches is toward a graying congregation.
I have so much hope for young adults that I don’t believe the church can afford to miss this group. They have great ideas. They are creative. They see the world differently. They have energy. They believe in relationships. The church today needs this generation.
I read an article by Sharon Ellard entitled Can Sunday School Reach a Postmodern Culture? I like Ellard’s answers. I encourage you to read the article in full. I want to share her four points in all capitals followed by my commentary. Will Sunday School be effective in reaching young adults today?
IT DEPENDS ON OUR WILLINGNESS TO BE AUTHENTIC.This generation prefers to relate to real people. They don’t expect people to be perfect–they don’t exist! They want honesty. They listen up when someone admits they don’t have it together. Young adults want to know how you face problems and challenges of life. Walk needs to go with talk. They are watching as well as listening. Are we willing to live what we say we believe?
IT DEPENDS ON OUR WILLINGNESS TO INVEST IN RELATIONSHIPS. Young adults want meaningful relationships. Want to reach young adults? I like Ellard’s suggestion: slow down. “Slow down for time together outside of class. Set aside time in class for catching up, rejoicing with the happy, or consoling the sad.” If they are important, you will make time with them a priority.
IT DEPENDS ON OUR WILLINGNESS TO MOVE FROM KNOWING TO DOING. This generation is very hands-on. They want to move quickly from talking about something to doing it. Get them involved. Help them find places to serve. Make the Sunday School session active. But don’t be afraid to debrief active learning experiences and ministry. This generation wants to incarnate the gospel–help them.
IT DEPENDS ON OUR WILLINGNESS TO PRAY AND TO PERSIST. Seek God’s leadership in ministering to young adults and your own life. Pray for young adults by name. Lead them to join you in praying. Be persistent in your efforts. Don’t give up when attendance is erratic.
Believe in young adults. Expect great things. Trust them. Be authentic. Invest in relations