Our church’s vision is “Every life changed by Jesus.”
We believe it, we repeat it, it’s even the wifi password in the church’s facility.
But “every life changed by younger people”?
“When we build relationships with younger people, our lives are transformed, too.”
So says Kara Powell of the Fuller Youth Institute in their new, groundbreaking book, Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church.
Using four years of research, surveys, conversations, and visits with churches known across the country for impacting younger people (15-29 year olds), Kara, along with co-workers Brad Griffin and Jake Mulder, lays out a pretty clear path toward reaching younger generations.
“Yes,” Kara added during a recent podcast episode with Carey Nieuwhof, “they made some sacrifices to engage with young people. But across the board, they would say that what they received was so much more than what they gave to young people.”
This sounds a lot like how boomers and Gen X encourage folks to engage on mission: “you will get more out of it than those you serve.” And maybe it is the best mission we could be part of: right down the street.
Young People Bring Vitality
Kara and their team visited more than forty churches across the country — in the suburbs, cities, and rural communities; Latino, Anglo, African-American, and diverse; small (under 100) and large (thousands of people). And in every church, there was a common refrain.
What difference has it made in your church to engage young people? Vitality. Our church now has vitality.
This: this is why we need to engage young people in our church.
This is why you need to ask how you can incorporate young people in worship.
This is why you need to ask whether the message will be clear to a younger person.
This is why you need to ask how to convey the vision and hope of your church to young people.
It’s hard to think of a way to better infuse life, a new passion for Jesus, and overall vitality in your church than by engaging young people. – Kara Powell
Kara also says churches in this FYI study had:
- more volunteers
- often ended up with more money — maybe not because those 15-29 year olds are incredible tithers, but there are 50- and 60-year olds who want to be in churches and are energized when they see 22 year olds worshipping and serving.
- more vision
- better questions
- more culturally sensitive
“They kept pointing to all of the ‘more’s’ the young people had added to the [church],” Kara said.
So are you ready for more?
This is the first in our Kid2Teen “Growing Young” series, helping you wrestle with how to reach younger people and find vitality in your church’s mission. Pick up a copy of the book and start wrestling with how your church can start “growing young.”