Pastor's Corner

2 Mar
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Mid-Week Challenge

A few years ago, the Barna Research Group performed an in-depth study on why young people leave the church.   Being a pastor and with a daughter about to head off to college, I’m always interested in how we keep our young adults involved in the local church. After looking over the findings of their study, I have found that the principles that worked a few years ago are much more important and useful today! Their research discovered five key areas the local church needs to focus more attention toward.

1.    Make room for meaningful relationships.

Students who remain active in church after high school cite the most positive church experiences are relational. The opposite proved true as well: Seven out of 10 Millennials who dropped out of church did not have a close friendship with an adult and nearly nine out of ten never had a mentor at the church.  Intentional relationship building with the next generation is pivotal to lifelong church involvement.   

2.    Teach cultural discernment.

Young adults need trustworthy sources in helping them develop discernment skills—especially in understanding and interpreting today’s culture.  Learning how to think is just as important as what to think.  Discernment is listed as a Spiritual Gift.  Young adults need guidance on how to develop this life skill before going out into the world 

3.    Make reverse mentoring a priority.

You adults want to go to work for the Lord now, not in a few years.  Adult leaders must find ways to put young adults to work within the church today and not “make them wait their turn” like in generations past.  Nothing is more frustrating than being told to wait when there is no explanation on why one’s skills are not being used for Kingdom work. 

4.    Embrace the potency of vocational discipleship.

The Bible tells us “whatever we do, do it all as if we are working for the Lord.” Young people need to be taught that their vocational work counts as ministry.  One does not have to surrender to fulltime ministry to make a difference for Christ. In fact, the lay worker can be more effective for Jesus than the average pastor.  Scope of influence is key and young people need to be aware of the power they have in their career path.  

5.    Facilitate connection with Jesus.

Christianity is about a relationship with Jesus, not following the points of a religion.  Too often the Local Church does not do a good job at modeling and teaching this truth.  If a young person’s faith is not relational with Jesus, he/she will not have a relationship with Him outside of the once or twice a week meetings they grew up with.  The local church must make a point to teach young adults life application of a relationship with Jesus.  

These are just five areas, but they are the most important.  Make sure you are fulfilling your role as a church leader/member in helping equip the next generation for the world that is waiting for them.  

So that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:17 

Serving the Savior, 

Bro. Jonathan

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