Have you ever read a familiar story in Scripture and been surprised by how “fresh” an encounter from the pages of the Bible can be? That was me this morning. I was reading (actually listening to) Mark 5 and found myself drawn into the story of Jesus healing the woman from bleeding who simply touched His robe in the midst of the large crowd. I was captivated by the woman’s faith and understanding of Jesus. I was captivated by the needs of the crowd that pressed in to be near Jesus. But, most of all, I was captivated by Jesus Himself.
Every chapter in the Book of Mark keeps bringing new needs for Jesus to meet, and He graciously meets them. Over and over again, Jesus ministers to the crowds, and right here in the midst of that ministry, He notices and ministers to the one woman who certainly must have felt overlooked and marginalized, who probably often felt hopeless and alone. This same Jesus who cut through the chaos of the crowd to minister to this one woman is the same Jesus who continues to cut through the chaos of our culture to minister to individuals today.
Thinking about this episode from Jesus’ life made me think about the many young adults who are involved in our churches and ministries. Just as Jesus personally connected with this woman, the young adults around us also long for the nearness and touch of people. Here are three takeaways that stood out to me as I read this passage:
1. Make time for one-on-one ministry.
You can’t spend individual time with everyone, but you can spend time with someone. Jesus modeled the importance of ministering to the crowds but we also see from His life the importance of connecting with individuals. Young adults are craving the opportunity to make true connections with others and will appreciate your willingness to carve out time to connect with them. Some of my greatest joys in ministry have come from prioritizing one-on-one ministry with the young adults God has placed in my path.
2. Don’t forget the overlooked.
Certainly, the woman in this story would have been considered an outcast and not exactly viewed as part of the popular crowd. Like all of us, she only brought need to Jesus, but He graciously met her in that place of need. It is wise to invest in the leaders of your ministry and those who have proven to be the most committed to growing in their relationships with Christ. But, as I read this passage, I couldn’t help but sense a subtle reminder to not forgot the young adults who are easily overlooked around me. Maybe because they are more introverted or have to work weird hours, or maybe they are just a little socially awkward. Regardless, they too need true connections with others and Jesus models that connection so well.
3. Crowds don’t equal community.
This woman was all around people and yet still felt isolated and alone. Likewise, there are many young adults in our churches and ministries who are constantly surrounded by others, but feel isolated and have unique individual needs. It is never a bad goal to try and gather as many young adults as possible for a ministry event, but let’s be sure to also seek to take the extra steps to intentionally draw young adults into genuine community.
As you seek to minister to young adults, I hope you will also be overwhelmed by the person and character of Jesus. Just as He stepped into the life of the woman in this passage, He also notices you. He cares about you and offers to meet your individual needs. Most importantly, though, He has already met our greatest need through the cross, and that is the message of hope that we also extend to all the young adults we encounter.
Bill Noe is the Collegiate Ministry Specialist at Lifeway Christian Resources. A former campus minister (and current collegiate ministry volunteer at church), Bill loves being a part of seeing college students grow in their walk with the Lord. Connect with Bill on Twitter.