I'm sitting in my office, and the smell of burnt popcorn is wafting in from... somewhere. I look out the window, and there is still a light coating of the morning's snow on the ground outside. The sun is shining in onto my computer screen, making this task of blogging a little uncomfortable.
I have been thinking a lot about what this blog should be. I am hoping it can become a forum for some young adult ministry ideas. More importantly, I hope it can become a place that represents this ministry and the people who are reading it.
"Young adult," in ministry terms, is defined as someone between the ages of 18 and 35. The congregation I am in, like so many Lutheran congregations these days, has a dwindling or non-existant young adult population. The trend has been that young people leave the church when they are confirmed or when they graduate from high school, and then don't return until they are married with children. It is at THAT point, when they decide that they need religious education for their kids, that church becomes interesting for them again.
This age gap is something that has been obvious to me for a long time. I'm 28, my husband is 32, and we see very few people our age in the pews on Sunday mornings. It goes beyond Sunday mornings, too. There are very few opportunities for Christian Education for people our age. There are also very few opportunities for fellowship and service with other people our age. It really is a catch-22, though: there are no opportunities that interest us because we do not come church, but we also do not come to church because there are no opportunities that interest us.
What are we, as ministers in the church, supposed to do with this situation? Obviously, there are A LOT of young adults out there who are searching for meaning. Many of these young people are just trying to make it in the world. They are working hard to move up the ladder and make fulfilling lives for themselves and their future families. Some of these people are college-educated. Some are not. Some are still in college. Some are working in their first jobs. Some are single. Some are married. Some have a church background. Some do not. ALL of them, however, are tied together in at least ONE way: God created them and loves them and wants them to be a part of the Body of Christ, his church. Jesus died for all of us, and welcomes us with open arms into the community of Christ.
The question is, how do we get these people to become active participants in the life of the church? More importantly, how do we get them to understand how much God loves them and wants them here? The search for meaning ends where Jesus Christ and the communion of saints begin.
What kind of ministry is needed in order to spread this good news to the young adults who are out there and are hungry for it?