This is a great question that I received from a Resurrection member with whom I spoke after worship on Sunday morning.
I recognize that the answer to this question will be significantly different depending on the particular congregation, the context in which the church exists, the current make up of the congregation and many other variables. I will do my best to answer the question in general and in particular at Resurrection.
I think that the most important for someone of any age is to seek to be a disciple or follower of Jesus Christ. One of the ways that this is done is to be together in a community with others who are seeking the same thing. This community is often, but not exclusively, found in a local church. Participation and involvement in church can be an important part of one continuing on the journey of becoming a deeply committed Christian. With that background and with the recognition of broad overgeneralizations, I will describe three characteristics of a community of faith that I think are important in seeing response and participation by 20-somethings.
Relevant – I think that faith needs to be presented in a way that is seen as relevant to the life of the individual and relevant to the reality of life today. This is true for someone of any age, but I think that it may be particularly true for those of us in our 20’s.
Authentic – The people and particularly the leadership of a local church need to live authentic lives. This means practicing what is being taught, honesty when things are difficult, and openness about hopes and dreams for the future. In this way, there is a recognition that each of us are on the journey together and each can learn from the other.
Participatory – In worship, teaching, discipleship, missions and nearly every aspect of the life of the church, it is important to have the possibility of participation by each member of the congregation. This may be found in elements in the worship service, team teaching in a small group, or an encouragement for those in their 20’s to be a part of leadership in a real way. Being able to engage in the life of an organization is important for me and I believe is important for others in their 20’s.
At Resurrection, we recognize that it is important to have all ages active in the life of the church. These are some ways of which I am aware in which we are attempting to be a place for people in their 20’s:
- We are seeking a better way for those in their 20’s and 30’s who are currently part of the congregation to connect with others in the same demographic.
- We are seeking to create an environment for first time visitors in their 20’s to connect with others of similar age.
- There are evolutionary changes that are being implemented in the 5:00 PM service on Sunday.
I know that my responses are not nearly complete and are certainly not all the answers. What do you think? How would you respond to this question?