Want to hear a word of hope for the New Year? Check out this hope-filled article from the December 2011 issue of Presbyterians Today about ministry with young adults. It’s titled “If This Is Church, Bring It On.”
Author Mark Ray notes, “In many ways, young adults are looking for the same things as previous generations, including Spirit-filled worship, authentic community and meaningful service.”
No, it is not crucial to have a guitar and drums in your worship service. What is needed is to be genuine and authentic and to do what you do well. He quotes Roger Dermody, Executive Director for Mission of the PC(USA) General Assembly Mission Council: “Whether worship is traditional or contemporary, the goal is to avoid having it become “monotone or rote,” he says. “We want to infuse our rich traditions and forms of worship with meaning to touch the hearts and minds of the younger generation.”
Younger generations are looking for genuine, deep relationships, including relationships that cross generational lines. In small congregations, this often comes naturally. The article speaks of congregations doing this intentionally. Call it the “Cheers factor.” They want to be where “everybody knows your name.”
As for service, Ray advises finding out what ministries young people are passionate about and accompanying them in service. What’s more, young people are looking for encouraging mentors. Again, this is intergenerational.
Warm, Spirit-filled worship. Deep caring relationships across generations. Service that meets critical needs. Small churches can do all this. Mine does, and I’m so grateful.