Threads Presentation: What Matters to Young Adults?
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Threads Presentation: What Matters to Young Adults?

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An overview of what's happening with young adults and the church, and some ideas about how to start young adult ministry in your church

An overview of what's happening with young adults and the church, and some ideas about how to start young adult ministry in your church

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  • Introduction to issues with YA Ministry. Cody’s story or any other Young Adult who has been touched by a church doing ministry well. Stress that age 18 to 34 is just a rough guideline for defining YA ministry. It many ways, it’s a mindset.

Threads Presentation: What Matters to Young Adults? Threads Presentation: What Matters to Young Adults? Presentation Transcript

  • Revitalizing the church by investing in God’s people 18-34 years of age What matters to young adults
    • Eight-month LifeWay research project
    • Based on interviews with unchurched Young Adults, Young Adult church members, and Young Adult leaders
    • Confirmed by survey
    • All geographic regions of the U.S.
    What matters to young adults
  • WHAT ARE THE KEY IMAGES OF 18–34 YEAR OLD YOUNG ADULTS AS THEY INTERACT WITH THE CHURCH & WITH EACH OTHER? YAs ARE LOOKING FOR REAL MEANING & MAKING A REAL DIFFERENCE. THEY ARE NOT WAITING FOR ANYONE; THEY’RE JUST DOING IT. LET ME SAFELY JOIN THE CONVERSATION IT’S NOT 1 PERSON WITH ALL THE ANSWERS; IT’S ALL THE PEOPLE WITH THEIR COMBINED KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE I WAS AFRAID THEY’D BE OVER MY HEAD BECAUSE I FELT UNEDUCATED ABOUT THE BIBLE AND RELIGIOUS THINGS YOU DON’T FIT SO WE DON’T CARE YOUNG ADULTS ARE IN THE MIDDLE—NOT MARRIED, NOT OLD ENOUGH, NOT IN HIGH SCHOOL—YOU’RE AT THIS “UGH” STAGE AFTER GRADUATION THEY GIVE YOU A PAT ON THE BACK AND SAY, “WHEN YOU START A FAMILY WE’LL BE HERE FOR YOU.” DON’T SHUT ME OUT SHOW ME THE REAL THING I WALKED INTO CHURCH WITH BAGGAGE—CHURCH BURNOUT, TIRED OF GAMES, POINTING OUT HYPOCRITES, OVERLY PROGRAMMED IT WAS BORING, DEAD. I JUST WANTED TO SAY “YOU’RE UP THERE SINGING ABOUT THE JOY OF THE LORD AND YOU LOOK LIKE YOU ARE AT A FUNERAL” I WANT TO BE CONNECTED THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME BEING IN A HOME IS A DIFFERENT ATMOSPHERE—WE’RE ALL SITTING AROUND THE TABLE EATING DINNER AND CATCHING UP I WANT A PLACE I CAN CALL MY OWN, BE A PART, BE HEARD AND NURTURED, WHERE YOU KNOW SOMEONE ENOUGH THAT YOU’RE NOT ASHAMED TO ASK SOMEONE FOR SOMETHING WORSHIP DRAWS US TOGETHER & SMALL GROUPS KEEP US TOGETHER YOU’RE FAMILY HUNGRY TO KNOW INTIMATELY & CHALLENGED BUT ALSO ANONYMOUS I’LL SAY LITURGY ALL DAY LONG IF SOMEBODY WILL UNDERSTAND MY PAIN THE GREETER SAID “I DON’T KNOW YOU” & GAVE HER A HUG; SHE JUST CRIED AS SHE TOOK HER SEAT—FIRST HUG SHE’D HAD IN A YEAR; YAs ARE LONELY ALL ALONE IN A CROWD WE ALL HAVE CRAZY SCHEDULES—WHEN WE DO GET TOGETHER IT’S A MIRACLE YAs ARE SEARCHING WITH AN UNSETTLED FEELING, ALMOST LIKE A NOMAD WHO AM I GOING TO CALL WHENEVER I HAVE AN IMMEDIATE NEED OR WHO AM I GOING TO CALL WHENEVER I WANT TO GO TO STARBUCKS. IT REALLY HELPED WITH THOSE KIND OF CONNECTIONS THAT KIND OF DOING LIFE TOGETHER, AS WE OFTEN SAY AROUND HERE
  • IT’S NOT ABOUT ME? SOME YAs HAVE A MONDAY—SATURDAY NIGHT LIFE AND THEN FEEL OBLIGATED TO CHECK IN WITH GOD ON SUNDAY YAs STILL WANT TO PLAY XBOX AND HANGOUT UNTIL 2 AM, BUT THEN BE AT A JOB INTERVIEW THE NEXT MORNING IT’S ON MY TERMS WE’RE SO FAST FOOD. WE’RE SO INSTANT GRATIFICATION THAT FOR OUR CULTURE, FOR OUR AGE GROUP…EASY AND INSTANT. YOU WANT GOD LIKE THAT IT’S MY WAY ON THE HIGHWAY WHEN I SIT DOWN IN A CLASS, I GET OUT MY LAPTOP AND MY BLACKBERRY—MY IPOD IS SITTING OVER HERE FROM WHERE I WALKED TO CLASS LISTENING TO MUSIC WE HAVE AN OBLIGATION TO KNOW SO MUCH MORE THAN PEOPLE DID 50 YEARS AGO; NOW YOU DON’T HAVE AN EXCUSE TO NOT KNOW WHAT’S GOING ON WE CORRESPOND THROUGH OUR BLOG RATHER THAN MAKE 12 CALLS TO SEE IF ANYBODY IS DOING ANYTHING … IF I SAY BUY ME 5 PACKS OF SOCKS & BRING THEM TO THE CHURCH ON SUNDAY MORNING SO WE CAN GIVE THEM TO KIDS WHO DON’T HAVE SOCKS, THEY’LL ALL COME WITH A BAG OF SOCKS WOW ME, BEFRIEND ME, & LET’S MAKE A DIFFERENCE CHURCH IS A HIGH PRESSURE ENVIRONMENT LIKE A CAR LOT THEY DON’T WANT FAKE CHRISTIANITY. THEY DON’T WANT CHURCH. THEY DON’T NEED CHURCH. THEY WANT REAL RELATIONSHIPS. THEY WANT LIFE TOGETHER IS BETTER WHAT TYPE OF CHRISTIANITY ARE YOU SELLING? THEY DON’T WANT TO JOIN A COUNTRY CLUB- JOIN A CLUB & PAY DUES, BUY FROM AN AMWAY SALESMAN. THEY WANT TO JOIN CHRISTIANITY. BEYOND JOINING CHURCH, IF YOU’RE INVOLVED IN A MOVEMENT, THAT DRAWS YOU IN. HELP ME FIND MY WAY THERE IS A LOT OF PRESSURE FROM SOCIETY ABOUT MAKING MONEY AND PROVIDING FOR YOUR FAMILY AND BEING ABLE TO AFFORD A HOME AND A CERTAIN LIFESTYLE. I THINK ALL THOSE INTERNAL PRESSURES STARTED TO COLLIDE W/I ME & THEY ALSO COLLIDED W/ MY FAITH YAs SEARCHING FOR TRUTH THAT HELPS THEM LIVE WELL ON A DAILY BASIS I WANT TO KNOW WHO I AM, BUT I’M NOT SURE YOU’RE STRUGGLING, I’M STRUGGLING, NO GAMES THAT’S THE FIRST TIME I HAD EVER SEEN WHAT DOING LIFE WITH JESUS DAY TO DAY LOOKED LIKE. I SAW PEOPLE W/ THEIR KNEES IN THE DIRT—THEY DIDN’T HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER—THEY HAD PROBLEMS TOO WE CAN’T HAVE ANY KIND OF GOOD BIBLE STUDY IF PEOPLE AREN’T BEING REAL WHAT DRAWS PEOPLE IS A CLIMATE OF HONESTY. WE DON’T COME AND SAY WE’RE GOING TO HIDE FROM EACH OTHER AND PUT ON MASKS AND GIVE ALL TRICK ANSWERS AND SUNDAY SCHOOL ANSWERS
  • 14 15 THE YA DESIRES TO INTERACT WITH MEMBERS OF THE GROUP A MAXIMUM TIMES PER WEEK YA LIKE LIFE CONNECTIONS YAs DESIRE A MAXIMUM OF PROGRAMS THAT SPAN YA STAGES OF LIFE (CHILDREN, NO CHILDREN, YOUNGER, OLDER, SINGLE, MARRIED) YAs WANT THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT OF OPPORTUNITIES TO CONNECT WITH YOUNG ADULTS 11 9 10 YOUNG ADULTS WANT TO MAKE A MEANINGFUL DIFFERENCE TOGETHER. WHAT ARE THE KEY REQUIREMENTS FOR 18 TO 34 YEAR OLD YOUNG ADULTS (YA) AS THEY INTERACT WITH THE CHURCH AND WITH EACH OTHER? YOUNG ADULTS WANT REAL CONNECTIONS THE YOUNG ADULT DESIRES BIBLE STUDY MATERIALS TO BE USED IN A MAXIMUM NUMBER OF SETTINGS (LOCATIONS) THE YA DESIRES MEDIA CONTENT SUPPORT TO MAXIMIZE BIBLE STUDY DISCUSSION TIME YA WANT MO’ MEDIA THE YA DESIRES TO DOWNLOAD A MEDIA OPTION THAT IS OPTIMIZED WITH THEIR LEARNING STYLE YOUNG ADULTS WANT VARIETY THE YA DESIRES INFO AND ADVICE FROM A MAXIMUM NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE THAT EXPERIENCE YA SAY “BE MY SHERPA” THE YA WILL HAVE A MAXIMUM NUMBER OF OPPORTUNITIES TO CONNECT WITH A MENTOR THE YA DESIRES A BIBLE STUDY WORSHIP EXPERIENCE WITH A MAXIMUM VARIETY OF DYNAMIC / CREATIVE ELEMENTS 14 12 17 16 THE YA DESIRES TO EASE EXPLORING THE CHURCH ENVIRONMENT WITH A MINIMUM AMOUNT OF PRESSURE FOR COMMITMENT 19 15 THE YA DESIRES TO BENEFIT OTHERS THROUGH A MAXIMUM NUMBER OF GLOBAL SERVICE OPPORTUNITIES YAs SAY “LET’S MAKE A DIFFERENCE” THE YA DESIRES TO UTILIZE THEIR TALENTS AND ABILITIES THROUGH A MAXIMUM NUMBER OF OPPORTUNITIES 20 21 THE YA WILL PARTICIPATE IN HANDS-ON OUTREACH ACTIVITIES THAT MEET THE NEEDS OF OTHERS ON A FREQUENT BASIS 22 YOUNG ADULTS WANT NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH YOUNG ADULTS WANT TO MAKE TRUTH THEIR OWN THE YA WILL HAVE OPPORTUNITIES TO PARTICIPATE IN BIBLE STUDIES ABOUT A MAXIMUM NUMBER OF FOUNDATIONAL CHIRSTIAN TRUTHS THE YA DESIRES TO DETERMINE THEIR OWN BELIEFS THROUGH A MAXIMUM OF HANDS-ON (PRACTICAL) LEARNING EXPERIENCES 1 2 YAs WANT LEARNING MATERIALS THAT MINIMIZE THE USE OF CHURCH JARGON 3 THE YA DESIRES TO PARTICIPATE IN SMALL GROUP MEETINGS TO DISCUSS LIFE APPLICATION OF SCRIPTURE WITH A MAXIMUM FREQUENCY THE YA DESIRES BIBLE STUDIES WITH CONTROVERSIAL TOPICS WITH A MAXIMUM FREQUENCY YAs WANT THE REAL TRUTH 4 THE YA DESIRES TO PARTICIPATE IN BIBLE STUDY THAT MINIMIZES FINDING PAT ANSWERS IN THE EXPLORATION OF SCRIPTURE 6 5 THE YA DESIRES GENDER SPECIFIC SMALL GROUP ENVIRONMENTS TO DISCUSS A MAXIMUM OF TOPICS YOUNG ADULTS “SMALLER HELPS ME BELONG” THE YA IS ABLE TO PARTICIPATE IN A MAXIMUM NUMBER OF SMALL GROUP ACTIVITIES THAT PROMOTE RELATIONSHIP / BELONGING 8 7 13 THE YA DESIRES TO DOWNLOAD A MAXIMUM VARIETY OF MEDIA OPTIONS (MUSIC, PODCASTS) RELATED TO THE STUDY TOPIC 18
  • What’s Changed?
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    • Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
    • 2/24/08
    • 3 out of 4 people age 18 to 29 have ZERO
    • affiliation with any religious institution
    • 1 in 4 have left the faith of their childhood
    • 12 percent -- “no religion in particular’’
    • 89 percent would like to talk to a Christian friend about their beliefs.
  • Finding Community is absolutely #1 when it comes to both believers and the lost in this age group. Behave/Believe/Belong vs. Belong/Believe/Become “ The greeter gave her a hug, and she cried. It was the first hug she’d had in a year. Young Adults are lonely.” What matters to young adults
  • In 1980, 100,260 YAs were baptized in SBC churches. In 2006, 58,099 YAs were baptized in SBC churches. 18 to 34 U.S. population is 74 million today Evangelism works, but only if there is: Relationship Discussion Low-pressure “ Church is a high-pressure environment – like a car lot.” What matters to young adults
  • Responsibility is a Very Close #2 “ I WON’T join your church if you if you don’t promise to give me something to do in the first six months.’’ 24-year-old prospect - Hermitage, TN McLean Bible Church - McLean, VA More than 10,000 members 70% of the volunteer positions (teaching,serving, reaching) are handled by people under 30 years of age. What matters to young adults
  • Service is rapidly becoming THE way to reach young adults for Christ. Around the country, people are being drawn by social action to Christ and His people. Among unchurched young adults, social action is cited as a major reason why they could consider being a part of a church. What matters to young adults
  • “ Our church has a partnership with an orphanage in Baja. A friend went with me to serve and loved the kids down there. He was saved through that experience. Service is really becoming an entry point to Christianity.” Missions leader Mariners Church - Orange County, Calif. What matters to young adults
  • Depth is #3 “ No pat answers.” “ The Conversation Generation” 66 percent of Young Adults have a made a “commitment” to Jesus, but only 3 percent have a Biblical worldview. – Kinnaman, UnChristian What matters to young adults
  • Small group Bible Study is a need for young adults but … “ It’s not one person with all the answers.” “ What draws people is a climate of honesty.” “ I was afraid they’d be over my head.” What matters to young adults
    • Life application of scripture is crucial
    • Lecture style is not appealing
    • Discussion/connection is huge
    • Talking head video? Thumbs down
    • We studied it – now let’s do something
    • Just add music
    • Print is not dead
    • I need a friend
    What matters to young adults
  • YA Survey - Section C Overview Q3: Preferred Media Choices Three Most Preferred Media Choices 2% 2% 3% Other 10% 6% 7% Interviews on Video 8% 8% 9% Dramatic Video 8% 9% 8% Training on Video 9% 8% 12% Icebreaker Video Clips 27% 32% 24% Printed Handouts/ Books/Listening Guides 16% 16% 13% Spoken Word/Audio 20% 20% 24% Music Unaffil Member Leader Survey/Choices
  • The Unaffiliated Have a Slight Preference for Hands-on Learning Activities & Prefer Less Lecture Q4: What percentage of study time should be spent on these activities? 3% 0% 1% Other 25% 27% 26% Discussion 14% 21% 21% Teacher Explanation/Lecture 10% 8% 9% Viewing/Listening to Media Content 15% 10% 12% Hands-on Learning Activities 17% 17% 17% Fellowship 16% 16% 14% Prayer Unaffil Member Leader Survey/Choices
    • Giving Matters
    • At Passion ’06, Young Adults gave more than $300,000 in one night to send the Passion message to cities around the world. At Passion ’07, the total was $700,000, not including 13,000 towels and 31,000 pairs of socks for inner city ministry.
    • If what the church is doing is real, valuable, and making a difference in the world, young adults will give of themselves and their resources to support ministry.
    What matters to young adults
  • Connection is No. 4 Young Adults are looking for mentors and friends of all ages who have gone through the experiences in which they are about to engage. “ Young adults are searching for truth that helps them live well on a daily basis.” What matters to young adults
  • The Horseshoe Effect Young Adults feel a true kinship with their grandparents that may be missing with their parents. Find a way to get your Young Adults together with the Senior Adults in your church. They need each other. What matters to young adults
    • Young Adult Ministry: Best Practices
    • 4 Threads: Community – Responsibility – Depth --- Connection
    • Multiple Bible study options – all relational groups
    • Mid-week worship gathering – relationally driven
    • Get the entire church involved in YA Ministry. Do not create a separate “church.”
    • Make service essential (inside and outside the church).
    • Go a mile deep and an inch-wide to start
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