Its Sunday morning, you have just arrived at church and are now seated in the sanctuary, and you begin to look around at all the people. You see a lot of people talking and having a great time but you begin to notice something. There are a ton of older adults, quite a few teenagers, and even a good number of younger married couples with their kids. But where are the college students? Where are the young adults who have recently graduated college? And then you see them. Just a few people sitting by themselves.
Sadly, this is the case in many churches today. Our youth groups are booming, the middle-aged adults are numerous, and the elderly never miss a service, but the young adults who we should be reaching, are just sitting by themselves. We are not doing anything to reach them or their friends, and we wonder why we don’t have more their age. The problem is us.
For far too long we have neglected young adult ministry, and today we are reaping what we sowed. When I speak of young adults, I am speaking of those between the ages of 18 and 26. These are the ones who have moved beyond youth group and high school and are now on college campuses. They are in the workforce, learning how to provide for themselves and survive on their own. I believe that there are two reasons we need to target this age group.
- They need the church. This one isn’t hard to admit. In fact, it feels kind of nice to admit that someone needs you. The reality is, young adults need the local church. They are surrounded by the world at school and work and they desperately need to be a part of something that pushes them closer to Christ. They need the truth of God’s Word to be taught to them. From what I have seen about this age group, they want truth. They have a lot of questions, and are looking for answers. We need to give them the answers. They also need fellowship that the church can provide. I graduated from college within the past year, and never in my four years did a church reach out to me personally. I am not saying that in spite, but am trying to show that we are failing to love young adults. They need the message and fellowship of the church.
- The church needs them. This one can be a little harder to swallow. We like to think that we, as local churches, have it all together, but the reality is, we don’t. We need what young adults have to offer. Excitement. Sitting in many church services, you might get the impression that someone has spread a nasty rumor that church is supposed to be boring. That’s not what God intended! Worshiping our Savior should be exciting and I have seen some incredible excitement come from young adults who have fallen in love with God and His Word. Impact. Young adults have a wonderful scope of impact. Whether they are on a college campus or in the workforce, think of how many people they come into contact with every day. Energy. Think of what we could do for God’s glory if we took the passion of an 80 year old saint, and put it in the body of a 20 year old. They could accomplish things that we never dreamed of. Leadership. I will be saying more about this in another post, but suffice it to say that when I was in the youth group I looked up to college students more than I did older men.
I encourage you to really consider what you can do to reach young adults, and how you can help your local church to target them better.
About David: David is a young man who serves as the college and media leader at Union Grove Baptist Church. He is engaged to be married in the summer of 2013 to Tonia. God has given David a desire to reach college students and young adults with the Gospel of Jesus Christ and see their lives radically change because of the impact the Gospel has on them. The two age groups are neglected in most churches, but need to be reached.