Where did all the Young Adults go?

Today, I ran across a very insightful article about reaching the Young Adult generation with the Gospel. Trevin Wax has been reviewing the chapters of the book After the Baby Boomers by Robert Wuthnow, and the final chapter is titled Youthful Churches. I would encourage all pastors and people working with Young Adults to read this article. Three particular passages summarized by Trevin stuck out to me:

“Churches must stop assuming that if they have a vibrant youth group and then a good program for young married couples with kids, they will reach this generation. This kind of mentality leaves out three-quarters of this generation. Churches should step in and fill the void. Why do we invest so much in programs for the children and the elderly, while leaving out ministry to young adults? We need programs for single adults with questions about marriage, work, and finances.”

“Regarding worship styles, Wuthnow’s research may surprise you. Young adults are increasingly less likely to want the contemporary worship of the boomer generation. They think church services should “feel like church.” Young adults are more often interested in preserving traditional worship than changing it.”

“The research numbers on worship styles may shock you (unless you are like me and in your twenties, and then you’ll sigh and say, “Finally, someone is describing our generation correctly!”). The greatest popularity of contemporary worship appears to be among people in their early forties. The lowest percentage of all (12%) of those who prefer contemporary worship is represented by people in their 20’s. That figure is lower than the percentage of church members aged 65-97.”

Many churches are not reaching out to the Young Adults. Events such as VBS, Upward, Fall Festivals, Kids Choirs, Senior Adult luncheons, etc are the many events that most churches host as outreach events . . . which really doesn’t reach out to Young Adults. One cool thing at our church is that we have a part-time staff member working with Young Adults. He has been teaching a series on dating and marriage (you can find his blogs here).

Also, the comment about the “contemporary music” is great! Our generation is tired of singing the 24/7 choruses (7 words repeated 24 times). What our generation, at least I do, loves is the music that tells the story of the Gospel and the nature of God as seen in many songs produced by Sovereign Grace. I’ll be looking forward to reading Trevin’s final thoughts on the entire book later this week.

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