Last week we brought you the first installment of Margaret Feinberg’s list of must-knows for starting a young adult ministry. Here’s part two:
- Don’t pretend you have all the answers, because you don’t. If you pretend to have everything mastered or an answer for every situation, you’ll quickly lose favor and reputability with this generation.
- Be creative. The obstacles and challenges that you face whether it’s a lack of funds or location are opportunities for innovation. If you can’t do one thing, try another. If that doesn’t work, try something else. Use your unique gifts and methods for sharing the gospel. Don’t be afraid to try new things.
- Be experiential. Create environments not just where people can learn about God but where they can experience God, participate in worship and interact in a community.
- Provide resources for those who want to learn more. Look for ways to equip young adults to search the scripture and church history for themselves. Recommend commentaries and books on ancient culture. Introduce websites and links where people can go to learn more for themselves. If you rely on a particular resource, whether it’s an author or a DVD series, let your congregation know. You’ll be surprised how many people are willing to take the time, effort and resources to learn more on their own.
- Create an environment where organic community can grow and thrive. Encourage people to connect, to honor their commitments, to keep confidences and respect others. Simple safeguards which promote healthy environment are essential.
- Experiment with ways to express ancient truths that connect in fresh ways with this generation. “I think we need to recapture the metaphor of sin as idolatry,” says Darrin Patrick, pastor at The Journey in Maplewood, Missouri. “It is important to use all of the Biblical metaphors: missing the mark, unrighteousness, trespass, lawlessness, etc. , but we are finding that twentysomethings seem to really identify with the idea that sin is choosing good over the best. I say all the time that the real struggle we have as human beings is not that we have desires for bad things, but rather, that we ‘overdesire’ good things like sex, our jobs, our boyfriends, etc. It is the good things in our lives that become the best things that we end up worshiping instead of God.”
- Dig deep into the Bible. For those who have grown up in the church, there’s a hunger for a fresh perspective on the Biblical story. The insight may come from the origins of a Greek or Hebrew world, the historical context of the time period, or a deeper cultural understanding of a gospel story, but such details invite people to dig deeper into the Bible for themselves.
- Never forget that what you’re doing is pioneering. There aren’t any ready made maps or plans for reaching this generation. Everyone out on the frontlines is just doing it. They’re watching God move and work in one-of-a-kind ways in their congregations. Though there are lessons to be learned from others, the twentysomethings in your area are going to respond to something completely different than those in another part of country.