Best Way To Bridge The Gap For The Next Generation

Recently too many parents of 20 somethings have approached me about talking with their kids about God.  It’s a cry for help that’s breaking my heart.  It makes me think of all the students that have passed through my fingers that are no longer engaged in their faith.  But that would be unfair to think that I’m 100% responsible for their outcome.  Still it’s a little hard to let go of the idea that I could have done more.
So why is this still happening?  Why are we still meeting parents of young adults asking us to help?  As a church we’ve never closed the gap between 18 year olds and 30 somethings…until now.  This is what we’re doing:
Short Term

  • Plug them into a small group for adults.  No more youth group, it’s time to do what other adults do; however, unlike other adult groups these will have a little more attention and support.  The plan is to throw a few older men or women into the mix, to shed wisdom.  It’s looking at the themes that we give adults but changing around some of the questions.  The idea is to start connecting them into adult community.
  • Make sure their serving.  If a child is in youth ministry too long we will turn them into consumers.  A healthy church is made up of committed contributors, ministry helps you get there.  While it’s fine for them to serve in student ministry, you probably want to hook them up in a ministry where they aren’t tempted to go back to their high school ways.  Look at some of the other ministries and again surround them with adults who will pour into them.

Long Term

  • Partner with parents.  Whether it’s resourcing or walking with them through an issue, make sure the parents of your community know that you are there for them.  When you can partner with parents they can you use as a resource when it comes to an important crossroads in their child’s faith journey.
  • Surround Them With Relationship. Small groups are at the core of our student ministry.  Small groups equal big change and we feel that this is the best method of setting up our teens for success.  By giving them adults who will pour into them, they will have a community to go back to if they stumble or fall.

Short term or long term the idea is to make their thoughts and experiences of church positive.  This next generation is at risk of not pursuing a relationship with God because the church they attend is not relevant and leaving them high and dry.  What we need to do is change that.  The way it’s going to happen is through relationships that point to God and the next chapter of their life.  The transition from adolescence to adulthood will happen when people are walking with this next generation.

How are you preparing the next generation for adulthood?