This is Your Wake Up Call!

Where Are the Young Adults at Your Church?

education03Are young adults staying in your church after graduation? Research studies indicate after high school graduation 70% or more of youth leave the local church and become inactive. Some of this drop out situation occurs because of the age gaps in congregations. What can we do to build bridges with the Richard Allen Young Adult Council or Young Adult Network?

A conversation with a young brother, twenty three years old revealed how not having a young adult ministry impacted him. He grew up active in his congregation. He was a boy scout, usher, and even sang in the youth choir. Then he graduated high school but did not go off to college. Members stopped inviting him to take part in worship or anything else. Before he knew it, he became an inactive member.

Building a young adult ministry can be powerful for evangelism and church growth. As we are reminded of the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 16-20), we are called to reach out and make disciples. How we do this may require us to continually understand where young adults are and minister to their needs.

Now may be a great time to either start a young adult ministry or re-energize one. Even if there are only three people under forty, you can start there. My first suggestion is to pray and seek God’s guidance.

There are lots of ways to jumpstart this ministry, but here are some ideas that I have seen work at local churches.

1. Personally invite young adults to be a part. Calling, emailing and one-on-one contact encourages involvement. Take time to extend invitations.

2. Get the word out. Keep the buzz about the activities of your Network or Council. Communicate in fresh ways such as social media (Facebook Group pages and twitter) as well as Sunday announcements, the church website and newsletters.

4. Offer opportunities to make a difference. Finding their purpose is the mission for this generation. Be open to relevant service projects. Last month one group gave Christmas gifts to 61 third graders who may not have had gifts otherwise. As a result two inactive young people heard and came to the next meeting.

5. Gather feedback and listen deeply. Ask young adults in and outside of the church what they desire in worship, building relationships and serving others. Listen with an open mind. Allow God to use these moments to help you reach the next disciples.

What is your church doing to fill this gap after high school graduation?

Lynette Hawkins is a communications specialist with Awesome Insight of Beyond Marketing Group, Inc. based in Greensboro, N.C. She offers a free monthly e-newsletter for church leaders that reaches more than 1,000 Christian leaders. She works with congregations and leaders to find practical ways to reach the next generation of disciples. Sign up for newsletter at or e-mail her at

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