It is possible for the church today to relate to and connect with postmoderns. I have personally witnessed churches of all sizes who have attracted groups of young adults. But these churches have reached this generation by making intentional shifts in thinking, inviting, and relating while staying true to God’s Word.
Manda Gibson has written an article entitled College Town Church Reaching Emerging Generation by Sticking to God’s Purposes. In the article, she shares how Ben Dubow, pastor of St. Paul’s Collegiate Church, compares the postmodern mindset to the modern mindset. This is not a perfect list, but it helps to begin to understand some of the differences:
|Want to…||Believe before they belong||Belong before they believe|
|Understanding of truth||Does it all add up?||Does it work?|
|Metaphor for faith||Decision||Journey|
|Idea of discipleship||Am I learning the right info? Am I doing the right things?||Am I moving in the right direction?|
|Idea of fellowship||Community is means to an end||Community is the end|
|Idea of evangelism||Propositional; presentational; answer questions||Incarnational; ask questions|
Sunday School is a great place for postmoderns to belong before they believe. In fact, many will take the step of faith in a trusting Sunday School class much sooner than they will in large group worship. In class they are able to ask questions in trying to understand whether it works or not. A revolutionary Sunday School class can lovingly help the young adult on his/her journey to be like Jesus. Such a class confirms steps along the path assuring the postmodern that he/she is moving in the right direction. Sunday School helps the young adult see how life is lived as a Christian as he/she observes and experiences love from Christians.
What is working in your church as you reach out to and connect with young adults? What curriculum are you using? How does it related to the chart? Vince Stiffler left a comment wanting some suggestions with his college class. Leave a comment that may help him and others.
Do the items in the chart ring true in your ministry to young adults? What would you add or emphasize? Dr. Thom Rainer has shared a startling statistic: we are only reaching about 4% of this youngest generation. This generation is important. Be intentional in your efforts while there is still time. Be revolutionary!