The ancient Jewish people had an underlying assumption about faith. They believed their faith was always one generation away from extinction. If they failed to teach the next generation about their faith, they were in danger of letting their faith die. Repeatedly, the Hebrew Bible commanded the people of Israel to tell their stories to their children (Deuteronomy 6:4-9, 20-25). The grandparents and parents were to remind their grandchildren and children about how God had rescued God’s people out of Egypt; how He had brought them through the Red Sea and delivered them through the wilderness.
Sharing our faith, and the story of God at work in this world continues to be essential to the life of all followers of Jesus. More and more the church is beginning to realize that if we don’t share our faith with the next generation Christianity, too, is only a generation away from extinction. What does that mean for the church in America that survey after survey and research after research all indicate that young adults are leaving the church? It has been widely publicized that the church has become more known for what it is against than what it is for.
But it doesn’t have to be like that. We don’t have to continue in the same patterns with the same results. This summer our combined Sunday School class will be looking at a book called Growing Young: 6 Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church. It’s based on research out of the Fuller Youth Institute and looks at what churches who are connecting with young adults are doing well. It turns out it has little to do with size of a church or “cool factor”. It has a lot more to do with sharing stories, sharing responsibilities, and sharing Jesus. This conversation is also more than just reaching out to young people, but how we might be reaching out and ministering to all kinds of people in our neighborhood.
This summer I’d like to invite you to be a part of this conversation. We’ll be reading the book together, engaging in study of Scripture and discussing how we might grow young as a church. To add to our discussion we’ve invited our youth to join us for the summer. We won’t be just talking about young adults, but, rather, talking with young adults. Come and join us.