Resource, Website

Anima: The Forum for Worship and the Arts is a project concerned with including our youth and young adults in worship leadership. Training videos available on their website could be used as discussion fodder at worship committee meetings or planning groups.

October 20, 2014 0 1 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

This webinar was recorded on: Thu, 05/30/2013 This webinar introduces some of the sobering statistics about youth staying, leaving and returning to church in Canada.

May 30, 2013 0 0 comments
Resource, Webinar Recording

This webinar was recorded on: Wed, 11/07/2012 Many churches are now dealing with the reality of losing the Millennial Generation for good. If that seems unacceptable to you and your church, then there may be some options to help your church become more relevant to this tough-to-define audience. But be warned, this webinar is not for the faint of heart.

November 7, 2012 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

The Young Adult Leadership Taskforce (YALT) of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA) kicks off a monthly web-based feature calledYALT Hangouts this Wednesday, September 19 from 9-11PM EST. YALT Hangouts feature new technology from Google that will enable well-known leaders from...

September 17, 2012 0 3 comments
Discussion Topic

While taking an ecclesiology class at college, I became familiar with the "Young, Restless, Reformed" concept that seems to be taking the young people of the church by storm. (I, being in my 20's, would like to include myself in that group.)

This drastic paradigm shift is happening for...

August 22, 2012 0 5 comments
Discussion Topic

An excellent new video resource was showcased at reKindle and at Synod 2012 in June which deals head on with the question about why today's young adults are leaving the CRC. It was written and produced by young adults, and it's well done.

You can see the movie trailer on YouTube. Here is...

July 6, 2012 0 2 comments
Discussion Topic

 

The Christian Reformed Church is gearing up for this year’s Synod and wants young adults to help get the word out. A $500 cash prize will be awarded to the individual or team that submits the most creative video that will promote awareness and interest in the issues being discussed at...

May 3, 2011 0 0 comments
Discussion Topic

We [Christians] Americans are breading ourselves out of existance, we're waiting till late 30s to get married and having on average 1.3 kids!  I argue that if we focus our efforts to get married the earliest possible and have the maximum number of kids, 7 or more!

The only needed...

February 28, 2011 0 6 comments
Q&A

Our church is considering beginning a ministry for college-age students. It would be a continuation of youth group, but would require a new formula to reach the challenges and interests of students in this group. Any ideas or thoughts? Any others have an existing ministry at their church?

December 21, 2010 0 11 comments
Q&A

 In our area right now, it is a big problem that when people get to their early twenties, many of them leave the church where they've spent their entire lives and go to another church.  For us it seems that people are just going to another church because everyone else goes to that church.  What...

September 16, 2010 0 5 comments
Resource, Article

This question pops up everywhere, underlying concerns about “failure to launch” and “boomerang kids.” Two new sitcoms feature grown children moving back in with their parents — “$#*! My Dad Says,” starring William Shatner as a divorced curmudgeon whose 20-something son can’t make it on his own...

September 7, 2010 0 0 comments
Resource, Book or Booklet

Young, Restless, Reformed Collin Hansen editor Christianity Today Great book shows great hope for the future.

March 31, 2010 0 0 comments

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Thanks for the comment ma'am, maybe my message wasn't clear (with many assumptions) and I appologies for being offensive.   Surely children are not the only reason or even the main one to getting married.

posted in: Get married asap

I was just surprised as I had not heard this argument within Reformed circles. Pressuring young people to get married and have as many children as possible does not seem like wise advice. And, as someone who is unable to have children, I am a bit offended at the idea that children are the only reason for getting married and the implication that having as many children as possible is the only way to happiness. As this is a sensitive subject for me it's possible I am reading more into it than was intended. If that is the case I apologize for jumping to conclusions.

posted in: Get married asap

What was alarming, weird, or negative in the original post?

posted in: Get married asap

I hope this is a joke?

posted in: Get married asap

Hi Eric,

Thank you for the great ideas! I may "steal" a few of them!!  :)  Many have suggested a Facebook page. I'd like to also offer an e-newsletter--a great way to share info with these young adults living away from home.  Peace!  -Ann

Ruth: good question about who this ministry is aimed at. It would be geared to students who have grown up in our congregation and are of college age. With that said, I don't think we would make a distinction if they moved away or not (meaning, if a young person was of college age and still living in our town, I would think there'd still be value to keeping them in a group like this...). Your thoughts on that last point along with the overall idea would be appreciated!  -Ann : )

thanks Ken! Skype is a good idea--hadn't thought of that. Also your point about sharing all the news--good and bad. I'll share that with our group.  :)

At the recent NEXT Conference, sponsored by CRWM, I sat in on a discussion about the "Changing World of Young Adults". The statisitcs that were shared were an eye opener. The average age for marriage today is 28, delayed from the average of 21, 30 years ago. And yet our church programs are still designed for youth group ministries that may go up to age 21 and then jump to "Married Couples". Single adults are left out.

We live in a town with 16 Christian Reformed Churches. While there may be pockets of  ministries that serve this age group ( up to age 30?)  at the larger churches, those  single adults in the smaller churches are left with nothing.  I'd like to see a movement to unite this ministry city wide. Any ideas? Is this even practical?

Well, there is no proven template or silver bullet as far as I can tell.  Our Single Adult Ministry (SAM) is about 8 years old and I've been leading it for about 3 years now.  We are constantly tweeking what we do to best minister to our young adults and keep up the morale of the volunteers and keep our program steady and sustainable.  I'm a eager as you are to hear feed back.

 Our philosophy is one of connection.  How can let our young adults know we care about them.  Here are some things we do.

- We have a team of care providers that gather every other month for a "ministry endeavor"  Each care provider is assigned 5-8 young adults.

- Our endeavors rotate among personal letters, phone invitations to gatherings, care packages, post care mailings, and sharing special quotes, thoughts, or passages from scripture.

-Care providers are encouraged to check in and connect with their young adults

- I compose and send out a bi-monthly e-newsletter

- We have an annual gathering (after Thanksgiving weekend).  Out of a group of about 120 young adults we'll have about 15 that attend.

- I have a young adult Facebook page where I pose news and other information.

 

We are working on a lot more an constantly refining, but this is where we are at right now.

Blessings to you!

Are you thinking college-age ministry to students who have grown up in your congregation and moved elsewhere to attend college/university or ministry to people in the age bracket of 18-22 who live in the area of your church?  I've got some ideas, but it would help to know which scenario you are facing.

annmpea,

Thanks for posting your question in our forums. We posted your question on our Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/crcna/posts/114495095288350

Perhaps it will generate some responses also.

Yes, I have a few idea's like using Skype for calls from the church. Try to help them find a church connection in their new school location. We need to take the effort to validate them by taking the intiative to contact them as much as possible.

 We as a church, need to talk to them about our experiences including the one;s we are not proud of. They need that open door no matter what has happened.

Thanks

Ken

You're definitely right, Nick - I guess that's what I was trying to get at with the "feel" and "DNA" ideas.......ministry should be more about who you are rather than what you do (or with rather than at).

The real challenge for all of us in church leadership in churches that don't have that "it" factor yet is how to get ourselves from here to there.  Programs and ministries are really only useful if they move your church toward being more who God wants you to be.  We've eliminated virtually all "programs" from our church's ministry and gone towards groups - gatherings of people who are the Church together.

Another challenge is that many younger young adults have recently come out of churches that have catered to them for all their lives (Sunday School, youth group, etc.), so I've found that there is an attractional (program, if you will) element to doing ministry with younger young adults that may be less necessary as they start to mature - but I think we created that problem.

Since this Baptist church seems to be doing a good job - why not go there yourself and glean their knowledge?  We're all on the same team, after all.  We make it mandatory for our leaders to go to other "successful" churches to grow our collective wisdom.

Programs and ministries are nice and beneficial but I think what young adults (and all humans) really want is community.  They want to be part of a group of people that goes through life together.  In your first post you said they go to a certain church because "everyone else is."  This is very telling.

You can have the best programs, ministries, preaching, worship, the right 'groups', but if there isn't a community they want to be a part of, they won't come.  You have to build a community of young adults that other people want to be a part of.  Obviously the challenge is building this community. 

It is my opinion that programs and ministries are not the place to start.  These will organically flow out of the community later along with discipleship.   Instead, I think the building starts with opening up homes, breaking bread, watching a football game, having a couple beers, poker, LIVING LIFE together.  Do whatever it is that you do, but do it together.  And occasionally invite other people to join you.  It's not your primary goal to add lots of people, this shouldn't be on your radar.  Your goal is to build a community.  Build the community and all the other things flow out of the community naturally. 

I hope I'm not just ranting, I believe this is a very biblical concept.  I believe this is the kind of thing God was doing when he established a covenant community called Israel.  God said more than once that the purpose of this community was to bless other people and be a light to others.  God's purpose was to build a community that other people wanted to be a part of.  I think this is what church is supposed to be as well. 

Thanks, John, that helps.  You should know that any advice I give simply comes out of far more failure than success - I think that's the name of the game here.  Even the local Baptist church you speak of would probably say they tried 25 bad ideas before they hit the sweet spot.

I think, first, the differentiation between different young adult "groups" needs to be made, of which I see four major ones - single (read: not married) folks on campus (those living the "college experience"), single folks who are non-campus (working, community college, etc.), married folks with no kids, married folks with kids (obviously, single folks with kids is a reality, also).  Trying to link those all together into one group can be not only challenging, but detrimental to real growth, I think.  The challenge is, if you only have 5-10 folks in the 18-30 age range in your church and they span all 4 groups, you really lack options.

I've been in churches with good ministries to campus students, but I don't get the sense that's the group you're targeting.  And....there's lots of ministries for people with kids, so I'll just address the other two groups - non-campus singles & married folks with no kids. 

If you're dealing with married young adults, I'm finding more and more that what they crave is high-cost discipleship......we have a young marrieds small group that is busting at the seams and ready to plant group #2 after only a few months - we meet almost every week and we do one service project for every "fun" event.  There's deep study, deep accountability, deep struggling with the realities of our situations, our church's ministry, etc.  I've found that this group is willing to forgo typical "attractional things" - high-end worship, spiffy buildings, etc. for the chance to be challenged spiritually, emotionally, etc.

However, the single young adults I work with are almost the complete opposite.  Because so many things are available to them and they live very transient lives, they need that "hook" to get them to stay.  We attract a large percentage of ours through the arts - either as musicians or using creative arts in worship, etc.  We employ some of them through our after-school care program.  Certainly, we can't compete with the level of quality that many mega-churches in town can offer, but we've had good results in our small group approaches, as well.  We split the genders - one female group that has a deep focus on healing from broken situations and one male group that we call "Fight Club" that is ultra-secretive (invitation-only) and consists of an activity - poker, basketball, watching football, etc. + someone talking about a struggle with sin as we talk about deep accountability.  Then, we do events, like you're talking about.  My suggestion would be to make the events the last priority and the relationships the first.  That's the harder way to build a ministry, but I think it has more staying power.

That's some of the "how".  Problem is, churches with good young adult ministries almost always have things in their DNA that meet young adults where they are, as I'm sure you know.  Its a "feel" more than a "program".  That's the hardest and the most beautiful part of young adults at the same time.  Its monumentally difficult to get to the point where your church's authenticity, quality of ministry and missional capacity reaches out to the heart of young adults, but once you get there, your church will be the better for it, overall, I believe.  To get there, your leadership HAS to grasp where you're going.  We benefit from having a 26-year-old pastor and young adults in many key visual leadership positions (worship leader, clerk of council, etc.), but you don't need that.  One thing I would suggest to you and your leaders - look for the right people, not the right program.  Take a risk on someone that might be an innovative leader - worst thing that happens is that you're back where you started.  Identify the right people and let them shape the ministry - people aren't "right" just because they fit the age bracket - they have to have a vision for what's next.  Remember, you're not where you want to be now - so if you appoint a leader who is okay with where you are now, you will never get where you want to go.

Hope that helps.....and maybe this will, as well.  Its a cross-sectional study we did on young adults in our church as we shaped our young adult ministry (only non-married young adults): www.sunriseaustin.org/yasurveyresults.pdf

 There are a few things we are trying right now.  We meet every Sunday after church for a Bible study during Sunday school hour.  This fall we are scheduled to meet two Thursday a month for a "local" event (something we can do at church or nearby - bowling, manhunt, kickball, etc) and one Saturday a month for a bigger event (apple picking, trip to Rockefeller Center, laser tag, etc).  Right now I am leading it with one other guy.  We're both in the age group we are trying to target (20 somethings).  He happens to be a deacon, and I am also the director of music at the church.

Our church is sort of in a period of transition right now.  Our pastor passed away suddenly just over a year ago and we are in the process of searching for another.  Our worship style officially is blended (unofficially I'd say its blended-leaning-contemporary).  There are a number of young adults involved in church leadership, including youth leaders, search team, council, praise team, etc.

Our church has a thriving Jr. High youth ministry (75+ students attend weekly), and an up-and-coming Sr. High ministry.  Our church has some trouble retaining students from Jr. High to Sr. High.  The Jr. High ministry is made up mostly of students that don't have a church home.  (Rough estimate - 25% from our church, 35% from other churches, 40% un-churched).  During the summer our church has an 8-week day camp, which is made up of 60%+ un-churched students.

The small group ministry at our church is growing, but is mostly geared towards "middle-aged" adults. There is no small group that exists for the 20's age group.  When I've asked about that, I've been told that I would be more than welcome to create one.  But I've been too busy with other responsibilities at church to be able to create a small group on top of that.

My church tries very hard to reach out to the local community through its programs.  I would love to see the young adult ministry at our church attract people from the community.  But, I think we first need a base of people from our church before we reach out to the community.

 

Can you help give us a feel for what you're trying?  What kind of people are leading it? What is your church's pastor like? What is your church's worship style like? Are young adults involved in leadership in any other areas of the church? What's your church's history with young adults? Do you have strong small group ministry? Children's ministry? Would you say your church is actively missional in your local community? WIth that in hand, we may be able to give some better advice......

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