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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. 

I'd love to be part of this discussion....I am a young adult and I was hired at Fresno CRC specifically to minister to young adults.  This is a topic very near to my heart

I like the way you think, Dave.  I'm probably preaching to the choir here.  In my expeirence young adults do not feel trusted, valued, or encouraged.   Sure they feel valued that they attend church.  But their perspective about where to go with the church is rarely sought or adhered.

I've encouraged several of our young adults to consider being elders and deacons.  They are conviced they cannot do the job, why?  I'm convinced it's because they have not been encouraged/challenged/taught that they can.   I think they have subliminally received the message from their elders that they are not fit to lead. 

Christian Reformed Church of North America, how badly do we want our denomination to be around in 30 years?  Are we willing to let young adults lead the church to a new place even if it makes us uncomfortable?  

Our young adults need to know that we cannot survive with out them.  I'm not talking only about membership and involvement; we need their leadership and perspective.  We live in a rapidly changing world and we need their leadership and perspective to help us thrive in a rapidly changing world. 



I like Verlyn Verbrugge's comments because they are forward thinking.

We can lament the low attendance of second services for the next 20 years and not make any progress.  We need to start thinking about what we're going to do given what we have.  Like Verlyn said, we need to take into account the cultural needs of today's congregations and adapt our ministries accordingly. 

Instead of asking "Should we have 2 services on Sunday?" we should be asking as a denomination and as individual churches, "What do we need to do to minister effectively to people in our culture NOW?"

We shoudn't hold a second worship service just because it's always been done that way.  We should hold a second service if and only if this is the most effective way to minister to and educate the church community we have.  Church leaders need to adapt their ministries along with the changing culture.  We don't adapt our theology but we can and must adapt the way we do ministry given our various contexts. 

I wonder if we too easily assume that the second service is the best way to spiritually benefit people today.

The reality is an institutional worship service doesn’t stimulate as much spiritual growth as it used to. In our culture people are more spiritually stimulated by interacting with the church organism: through the church community and the relationships in the community. The worship service is an institutional activity and people simply aren’t connecting with God as much through the institutional church. People in our culture (especially the younger generation) are very suspicious and cynical of the institutional church. Thus activities in an institutional context simply won’t do as much as they used to. We can lament this reality and do nothing or we can adapt our ministries to be more consistent with this reality.

In the article Engelsma says that the decline of the second service is “is definitely a sign of serious spiritual and theological weakness.” This may be true, but I wonder if it is also a sign of the institutional church’s inability and unwillingness to adapt the way we do ministry in our changing world.

I do wonder, does proclamation of the word of God have to be limited to a worship service?  Indeed the pure preaching of the Word is one of the marks of the church but is the worship service the only place we proclaim the Word of God?  We absolutely cannot abandon the transformative Word we are called to preach; I'm arguing we need to get contextual and adaptive with how we proclaim the Word.  Getting contextual and adaptive does not necessarily mean we are giving into culture; I beleive it means we are being faithful to proclaiming the Word. 

In my mind when we model grace, mercy, love and acceptance to our community in any institutional or non-institutional context we are proclaiming the grace, mercy, love and acceptance of our Father in Jesus Christ.  We are living proclamations of the Word of God.  In my mind when we gather together to support and encourage and enjoy each other as a church organism we are building the Kingdom of God and letting the proclaimed Word live in us and through us. 

I beleive we as churches are called to find the most effective ways to make sure proclamation of the Word happens in all shapes and forms. We can abstain from having a second worship service and still be counter-cultural and still be faithful in proclaiming the word of God.  We can have confidence in the proclaimed Word of God because it lives and breathes in so many ways inside and outside an institutional worship service. 

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