Editor’s Note: We are constantly looking for churches that are successfully implementing young adult programs. Brentwood Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee has a thriving Tuesday night gathering for young adults called Kairos. Pastor Mike Glenn just published In Real Time: Authentic Young Adult Ministry as it Happens. In the book, Glenn tells the story of Kairos in hopes that it will inspire other churches in their young adult ministry efforts. Much of Glenn’s writing is informed by the findings of Lifeway Research. We asked Glenn for a message to leaders, and here’s what he had to say:
I didn’t plan to be the primary teacher at Kairos, a Tuesday worship event focused on young adults at our church. In fact, I told them I didn’t have time. I would help them get started, I promised, but then we would have to find someone else to do it full time. That was more than five years ago.
What happened? Why did I change my mind? I heard their stories. Like this one: After a service that focused on relationships with dads, a girl came up to me and told me about how her father had been abusing her since she was 6 years old. After that conversation, I sat in the front seat of my car and wept. I begged Jesus to show me how to get His gospel to these young adults.
I live in Nashville, Tennessee, the buckle of the Bible belt. Yet many of these young adults have never heard the story of Jesus. Most are dealing with heartache or difficult life issues. Everything from “Who am I?” and “What am I supposed to do with my life?” to addictions and open wounds caused by their own bad choices or bad choices made by others. So how could I keep quiet? How can a person know these struggles and not say anything?
I know there are a lot of reasons you feel your church or ministry can’t do this. I know you feel you don’t have the right musicians, the right facilities, the right teacher or preacher. Believe me, I am familiar with every excuse and reason. I’ve used most of them myself. But even with all of that, you have to do something. You cannot wait until someone else does it. You cannot wait until you have everything in place. Grab your Bible, find a table and a cup of coffee, and make it happen.
It doesn’t take much. Listen to their stories. Pray for them. Tell them the simple message of Jesus. Create some time. Make a safe place for them. Find a way.
I am praying God will break your heart as He has broken mine. I pray you will hear the stories and will realize what’s at stake for the church and North America. Then, I pray YOU will pray and pray and pray until God helps you find a way to make your young adult ministry happen.