When I say The Church, I really mean us, the individuals who are called to raise, equip, and empower the next generation of Christ followers. It’s our duty to raise up new leaders, equip them with the right tools, and empower them to lead where they are called.
Every year we see more and more young people leaving The Church. Statistics say that nearly 50% are to turn away from their Christian roots after high school. And while it hurts my heart to see so many of them walk away from their faith, I can’t help but understand why. We haven’t given them a reason to stay.
Don’t get my wrong. There are thousands of individuals who are leading their young people incredibly well, but I feel there is also an unspoken group of individuals who aren’t. Something needs to change. We must increase expectations for a decreasing generation. Pizza parties alone aren’t gonna cut it anymore.
1. They Find It Hard To Fit In.
The twentieth century’s structure of “The Church” is not something that appeals to many of their cause-based, non-profit, grassroots, be your own boss, entrepreneurial lifestyles. The idea of combining Jesus and business is something I feel turns many young people away from the crux of it’s purpose. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but I am saying it’s a huge factor in why many are stepping away from what others would call corporate gatherings. They feel as if they don’t fit in. We can’t treat young people the same way we treat everyone else. There needs to be a diverse form of community and discipleship that compliments their unique stages of life.
2. They Find It Tough To Connect
Many claim that The Church is giving answers to questions young people aren’t even asking. Millennials are looking for connection, but it seems many of them are finding it tough to get plugged in with a group or community that relates to their current stage of life. This is one of the reasons I am so passionate about reaching this age group. I feel that there is a missing link between high school and what others would call “big church.” And while many might disagree with this statement, I would reference the lack of young adults in our churches to prove my point. We need to do something about this.
3. They Yearn For Organic Community Vs. Organized Community
You can’t force me to hang out with anyone, let alone put me into a group of people who I have nothing in common with, and then expect us to connect. My wife and I have experienced this personally. While I firmly believe that community groups are one of the most important pieces to any church, I can also see why many young people don’t find them interesting. They can’t relate. We must create a specific communal structure that is laser focused on engaging the life’s of our young people.
4. They Lack Discipleship.
I believe there are many churches in today’s world that are doing an incredible job at reaching the next-generation of faith, but I also see a need for equipping other churches on how to better reach and disciple them. The lack of discipleship in student ministry is pretty staggering. Many students are moving out into the real world without the biblical foundation they need. Creating a unique discipleship program that is specifically crafted around the lifestyle of a young people will be a key to raising up the next leaders of The Church.
Here are some next-gen ministries doing incredible things: