One of the most exciting aspects of young adult ministry is that you never know who’s going to show up from week to week.
One of the most challenging aspects of young adult ministry is that you never know who’s going to show up from week to week.
As leaders of young adult ministry, we have to accept the reality that young adults are transient. They are on the move. They love to explore and travel over a long weekend. It’s one of the characteristics that I absolutely love about being around young adults.
When leading young adult groups, we can’t let the “on-the-move” lifestyle discourage us when our groups may be smaller one week or we find out that one of our key leaders in our group is taking a job in a city several hours away. It’s simply part of young adult ministry.
However, there are some constants that we as young adult ministry leaders can bring to our groups. These are the things that young adults know they can always count on; they can expect them.
1. Always teach scripture.
The young adults in your group should always know that you’ll be passionate about teaching the scriptures week after week. Even if they’ve been gone for a few weeks, they know that when they return they’ll hear teaching that is challenging, full of depth, and applicable to their life.
Even when they are not physically present in your Bible study, find ways to include them in the study topic. Utilize social media and texting to encourage study and conversation about the scriptures that you’ve been exploring. Simple actions can make them feel like they’re still part of your study and connected to the group.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is profitable for teaching, for rebuking, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17, CSB)
2. Let them know they’re missed when they’re not around.
With busy lifestyles, young adults can easily slip out of the routine of attending small group or young adult gatherings. When someone is not around, make sure they know that they were missed and things are just not the same without them. A quick text or message will go a long way in helping them understand that you are a consistent figure in their journey. Let them know that you have been praying for some of the decisions that they have been facing or with some of the life events they’ve told you about.
One reason individuals drop out of church is they feel that no one really cares if they are there or not. Don’t ever let that be said about the ministry you lead with young adults. Be a constant in encouragement even when they’ve not been around for a few weeks.
3. Be an encouragement as they move on.
Not only will young adults be away from your group for a few weeks because of work or travel, but many will move away to accept a new job or for simply a new adventure. Be an encouragement to them as they set out on new parts of their journey. Do some research to help them identify churches with strong young adult ministries in their new city. Help them have a plan for how they will continue to grow in their walk with Jesus once they have settled in their new community. We are sad when young adults leave our groups, but we have the opportunity to celebrate with them in the new adventure that awaits them in their walk with Jesus.
There are not always a lot of things that are constants with young adults. You have the opportunity to be a constant that will have significant influence in their lives.
Mark Whitt is a collegiate minister with Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Connect with Mark via Twitter.