Culture At Large

Reaching Out to Young Adults

Chris Salzman

Trevin Wax relates some of the thoughts he picked up from Robert Wuthnow's book After the Baby Boomers about how to reach out to young adults (18 to twenty-somethings).

His main points are in bold and I've provided a short summary of each of his summaries, but please read his whole post if you're interested:

1. Raise expectations regarding post-boomer religious participation while simultaneously providing support for this generation.

Young adults are busy and uninvolved with the church, we need to create innovative ways of ministering to them while also raising the level of our expectations for their involvement.

2. Buck the trend of late marriages.

We need to emphasize sexual chastity, but more importantly emphasize earlier maturity. Don't push people into wedding vows, but rather breed an atmosphere of maturity so that young twenty-somethings will be ready for marriage.

3. Reach out to new movers.

66% of converts to evangelicalism did so after a recent move. We need to actively evangelize to people who are new to communities as people in transition are more willing to join a church in their settling process.

4. Emphasize doctrine again.

Wuthnow's research indicates a lack of doctrinal understanding among young adults. They also really want that understanding. The church must offer substantial training in this regard.

5. Stop expending so much time and energy debating stylistic issues.

Young adults are not interested in the 'worship wars'. They're interested in liturgy, tradition and the preaching of the Bible.

6. We need to deepen our understanding of other religious faiths.

We're doing a good job of reaching the 'unchurched, but have little understanding of other faiths and how to evangelize to them.

Number 3 makes a lot of sense to me. I know most young adults are looking for places to fit in and find friends. Why not the church? And a hearty Amen to numbers 5 and 6.

Anything you would add to the list? Anything you would take of the list? Other thoughts?

Topics: Culture At Large, Theology & The Church, The Church, News & Politics, Media