What a popular refrain I hear from our churches. There is nothing I hear more than “We have no young people!” It’s true, you don’t. Or if you do, not as many as you would like to see.
Sunday school attendances are very low, many churches I know have single room Sunday School classes. Certainly not the hundreds of kids people like to talk about in the “good ol’ days!”
So where are our young people if they have no interest in church. I guess people like to think they have no interest in religion because they obviously aren’t in church!
Watch this video…
Last month I took part in the Cape Breton Prayer of Hope service where we prayed for all corners of Cape Breton with participation from churches all across the island representing many different denominations at the same time. It was a beautiful evening of coming together in the name of Jesus Christ to pray with and for one another.
During the service we showed the above video. I should also note that the average age of those in attendance for this service was MUCH younger than we are used to seeing in mainline denominations.
So what’s up?
I believe that young people have a deep longing for spiritual growth and understanding of the “big questions” in life. It is proven in the above video, where young adults cram into a house once a week. So many they are practically sitting on top of each other (as you can see in the video)!
I had a wonderful conversation with a couple of boomers later that same week. In our conversation they shared this piece of wisdom, “We just accepted the church our parent’s gave to us, our children aren’t willing to do that.”
The church of our parents, grandparents, the churches we sit in today are not what we young adults are looking for. They definitely serve a purpose, but they aren’t speaking to younger generations in the same way any longer. We have a deep longing to know Jesus, and to learn about him, but we also need to experience him in a community of peers who are willing to engage in conversation. Our traditions don’t function that way, and so many of our young people are left feeling outside of the conversation they deeply want to be part of.
So how do we change?
I don’t think we can. I think our young people need to be given the ability, the resources and the blessing to build a church of their own.
How do we start? Where do we start?
Those are the questions we need to be asking and finding answers to. We need to support new expressions of church and develop the faith of our young people in a way that is meaningful to them. Musically, conversationally, spiritually.
I believe they will respond. The “church” that meets in the video above shows it can happen.
Pray about this. Ask about this. Find a way in which we can encourage and support our young adults in their faith development.
They really want to know more and grow more in their spiritual journey.