Church attendance is declining; congregations are aging. Lots of folks are discouraged. The media doesn’t mind telling the world the church is dwindling. Critics of the church abound. Secularization takes on cosmic powers.
But there are what the authors of Growing Young “bright spots” of churches that are reaching and involving young adults and hence these churches are “growing young.”
The authors are Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin, and the research involved the Fuller Youth Institute and a bundle and bundle of helpers and workers and advisors.
This is a special book. Every church needs a copy. Every seminary professor needs a copy. Seminary presidents need a copy. Seminaries need to converse with churches.
Some churches are “growing young” and we need to know why and how and if we can learn from them.
What are the marks of churches that are growing young?
Our deep and wide analysis of some of our nation’s most innovative churches unearthed a Growing Young Wheel and six core commitments. While there is no guarantee that enacting these six commitments in your congregation will produce better engagement with young people like Isabella, they are the most universal commitments in churches with the greatest proven effectiveness.
The Growing Wheel
1. Unlock keychain leadership. Instead of centralizing authority, empower others—especially young people.
2. Empathize with today’s young people. Instead of judging or criticizing, step into the shoes of this generation.
3. Take Jesus’ message seriously. Instead of asserting formulaic gospel claims, welcome young people into a Jesus-centered way of life.
4. Fuel a warm community. Instead of focusing on cool worship or programs, aim for warm peer and intergenerational friendships.
5. Prioritize young people (and families) everywhere. Instead of giving lip service to how much young people matter, look for creative ways to tangibly support, resource, and involve them in all facets of your congregation.
6. Be the best neighbors. Instead of condemning the world outside your walls, enable young people to neighbor well locally and globally.
The order is flexible.
The boundaries are permeable.
The turning point is priority.
The context is pivotal.
The pursuit of Jesus is the overriding motivation.