Where are the young adults? Well, they’re not in church.
Today’s 18- to 29-year-olds are less inclined to attend church than earlier generations at this stage of life. But their views of the existence of God, life after death, and prayer closely resemble previous generations, according to the Pew Forum and other researchers.
“Church is difficult because young people today want to engage actively,” said New York pastor J. Lee Hill Jr. “They just want to experience God.”
They don’t find the style and approach of today’s churches a good fit. And the nature of their values will probably not change their distaste for church as they age. Take a look at some of those values.
• They don’t find institutions or hierarchical structures attractive.
• They highly value relationships.
• They find stories much more compelling than rote evangelism or apologetics.
• They learn best through conversation rather than lecture and traditional teaching.
• They are repulsed by those who “play church” and merely go through the motions of religion.
If churches wish to survive and thrive in the years ahead, they’ll need to make some fundamental changes to their ministry approaches. It will require more than mere tweaks.
In our development of Lifetree Café, we’ve worked to accommodate the needs of this new generation. And we’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon. It’s not just the Millennial generation that responds well to the values listed above. The other generations increasingly embrace ministry values that are more relational, experiential, story-based, conversational and authentic.
Are you ready to adapt to a new day?