Millennial. It’s become something of a dirty word in traditional media and a buzzword to play with in marketing. For others, such as myself, it’s an integral part of our identity. But much more important than articles and buzzwords is the question — how do we value and mobilize millennials (read: young adults) in our churches?
In answering this question there are three major temptations that appear alluring but neither show value nor mobilize young adults.
- Throw money at a young adult ministry and walk away. While there’s nothing wrong with trendy lights or timeless curriculum, money doesn’t solve ecclesiological problems — though it can be a helpful tool.
- Sticking young adults in the youth ministry. Age proximity does not mean they are the perfect youth group volunteer. For the younger young adults (18-20), automatically making them a next gen leader can even lead to having a hard time letting go of their youth. While there’s nothing wrong with this model, not all young adults are meant for youth ministry.
- Well placed expectations with no follow through. A church that rightfully expects their young adults to pull it together and grow up, but doesn’t offer mentorship or resources to get there, isn’t helping.
With these temptations in mind let’s talk best practices.
Here are the three of the best ways to mobilize and show value to your young adults.
It’s rare that cultural mores and biblical truth line up. But I must say, my native-Long-Islander-Italian-American upbringing and time in the Word have taught me the value of good hospitality. When examining biblical hospitality we see rhythms of intimacy and close fellowship that wonderfully model Christ’s love. Many millennials have had limited experience with family meals, good parental relationships, close fellowship, or being served. The church has an opportunity to offer those things to them consistently.
Jesus Himself never owned a parcel of property, yet He always embodied a hospitable spirit and used hospitality as a vehicle for teaching. Only Jesus can get away with inviting company to someone else’s home, but He’s proven team hospitality to be effective. More simply, cherishing young adults with meaningful conversation after your service or during your programs will go a long way. Good hospitality begets good hospitality. Showing value to young adults through hospitality models the importance of service and will pay out in their discipleship and your church’s volunteer teams in spades.
2. DISCIPLE. RELEASE. DISCIPLE.
Have your young adults been discipled? You know, the one-on-one, getting into the grit of it, let’s talk regularly, accountability, and teaching kind of discipleship. Millennials are a relational generation who severely lack deep and meaningful relationships. This sounds paradoxical, but it’s proven true.
But good discipleship isn’t enough — young adults need to be released. They need to be equipped and empowered to do something. A good discipling relationship builds a passionate Christian whose engine is humming and ready to go. Release them, even if they’re only 80% of the way there.
Beyond that, we’re called to make disciples, so our disciples must also make disciples. Value and mobilize your young adults by showing them how to give what they’ve have received. Give your disciple a fish, then teach them to fish, then teach them to teach someone else how to fish. In implementing this, your young adults will be ready and capable when your church decides it’s time to raise up more leaders or church plant. Remember: Young adults are not tomorrow’s leaders, they are today’s leaders.
3. TEACH THEM THAT JESUS SATISFIES
The time we live in is astonishing. Anything can easily be sourced, transacted, shipped, etc. It’s an incredible day and age, one that’s left us with an incredible problem. Millennials are malcontent, seeking and searching for satisfaction in any direction only to find that all earthly wells run dry eventually. Some tribes of millennials have sought satisfaction by putting their axe to the grind, others in partying and festivals, others in academia, still others in sustainable/conscious living, but nothing satisfies for the long haul.
More than teaching freedom in Jesus, healing in Jesus, or purpose in Jesus (though we offer the whole counsel of God), teaching that Jesus satisfies is how you’ll build a millennial disciple who will flourish and plant roots in your community and church.
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- 3 Ways To Mobilize and Show Value To Your Young Adults - July 30, 2019