The Blaze reports that one groups attempt to engage young adults (20s-30s) (who are leaving the church in record numbers) is to …
… create one young adult ministry that would provide all of the bells and whistles required, without replacing church. Charlotte ONE does not perform baptisms, weddings, funerals or offer communion. It doesn’t meet on Sundays or have a single pastor in charge. Sermons are “bible-based” and generally evangelical in their outlook, but the leaders try to steer clear of controversial issues (religious and political) that might divide their sponsoring churches.
Do some math with me on this span of 20 “somethings” to thirty “somethings”, this means that they entered church life sometime between 1973 and 1992, hitting the youth group right square between 1985-2002.
This movement is in response to Christians leaving the church. As in, after youth group/graduation. The group (CityONEnetwork) cites Barna’s study on why young adults leave. Thus the need to engage 20-30 somethings with the “bells and whistles” all while avoiding those pesky “controversial issues (religious and political)” .
On the surface this sounds great, but ironically it sounds just like a 1985-2002 youth group meeting.
Bells and Whistles (bible based of course)
After all, CityONE is not a church, just a group “facilitating unified outreach services to reach 20-30somethings for Christ and connect them to a local faith community.” I would say it remains to be seen if this style will work, but it doesn’t–it’s been proven ineffective in metro area’s, Christian college groups, and local youth groups across the nation-from 1985-2002+.
It’s what these people walked away from in the first place…insanity
But I do think we can look Barna’s research and find some helpful info. Barna outlines 6 things that lead to young adults leaving the church.
The reasons are
- Reason #1 – Churches seem overprotective.
- Reason #2 – Teens’ and twentysomethings’ experience of Christianity is shallow.
- Reason #3 – Churches come across as antagonistic to science.
- Reason #4 – Young Christians’ church experiences related to sexuality are often simplistic, judgmental.
- Reason #5 – They wrestle with the exclusive nature of Christianity.
- Reason #6 – The church feels unfriendly to those who doubt.
Over the next few days we will look at the 6 things Barna attributes to young adults leaving the church.
Reason #1 – Churches seem overprotective.
A few of the defining characteristics of today’s teens and young adults are their unprecedented access to ideas and worldviews as well as their prodigious consumption of popular culture. As Christians, they express the desire for their faith in Christ to connect to the world they live in. However, much of their experience of Christianity feels stifling, fear-based and risk-averse.
This reflects a church setting that doesn’t engage hard topics of the culture, but more of a “just don’t do it” taboo approach to things that are not “churchy”. To correct this churches must be deliberate about being able to speak in a way that young adults understand, but also careful to not become so “relevant” that the message doesn’t look different at all. In love, be clear about why (SOME) cultural norms are not appropriate for followers of Christ. But also be (painfully) honest with yourself, church, that somethings we regard as “right/wrong” might just be preference…blue jeans/electric guitars or organs/choirs/curriculum.
All those could also be described as “pet ministries”. In other words, this “thing/class/style/person” is important to me (my pet), and I’m a part of the church, so this “thing/class/style/person” is essential to the church. Churches must be excited to incorporate a variety of personalities and gifts which are captive to the Word of God. It’s ok to be different in style/preference, but it’s not ok to go against Scripture.
This self sacrificial mindset ultimately leads to a missionary attitude about reaching the culture for Christ. Take the norms of communication (i.e. audio/visual/texting/social media) and deliver the message of Christ this way.
Great example HERE
How many of you would attend a lecture I’d announce to give on “The need to challenge the effectiveness of current church ministry models and mindset”? I doubt many…so I wrote it in a blog with a youtube video and a cool picture of Einstein. I took the way you receive information, and took biblical information and presented it to you in ONE of those ways.
But if that was all I did, would you care? or would you tire of my one trick pony? there are thousands of ministers who blog, so why me?
Does it have anything to do with the fact that you know me? That you know my heart to see you transformed in the image of Christ? Have we labored together to feed to poor, or help the hurting? Maybe you see the way I try to lead my own home or church toward not just good worship or Bible study, but toward knowing-really knowing Jesus Christ-and living like He is King?
I think this is where groups like CityONE miss the point. They are absolutely right to have modern worship music that has good theology and peeks contemporary interest. It is noteworthy to have Bible based messages. But at the end of the day, people want a Christianity that is dangerous on mission, deep, smart, handles sex like it’s a good thing (because it is), meaningful, and warm.– A real faith that is not just marketed well.
We’ll look at those things soon, but for today remember Jesus died for you. Not just for you, but every color, race,accent, sports fan-base, clique, social class.
Take the Gospel to them-however they’ll listen, it may cost your pride, social standing, entertainment…or life. Don’t add to the gospel, or define it as being like you or me—point people to Jesus. Jesus died for sin, including the sin of thinking that my way or event is best…or worse than that-holy.