Response: The Church’s Doomed Pursuit of the Elusive Young Adult
If your pastor wears Chuck Taylor’s you’ll probably have more young adults. As a young(ish) adult in the Church I find it weird sometimes being treated like a generational soothsayer who holds some magic answer for what will bring “my people” back. I think one of the underlying paradigm shifts going on in the western church is the realization that we are no longer ministering to lapsed Christians or adults who were raised in the church. Saying, “hey! we play your music now!” isn’t enough anymore. Younger adults not just Biblically illiterate, often we are religiously illiterate (suspicious of and doubtful about the role of organized church in our lives and world). Asking, “what do young people like?” might bring in a few curious seekers, but in the end is a big #fail. It’s like gaging the health of your church by measuring the number of people wearing Chuck Taylors and jeans.
I’m finding myself increasingly attracted to questions like, “how is our church discipling young/old, new/mature Christians?” and “how are we being neighborly as a church?” I think these are questions that move us beyond young adult ministry being about music and ironic t-shirts and impressive beards and into questions about the spiritual health of our faith communities. I think [Bruce is] spot on: What is this community we are trying to save? What is this church thing about? And are we living lives of intentional community in a way that makes our neighbors, young and old, stop and say, “woah, I want some of that!”?
(originally written as a comment on Bruce Reyes-Chow’s post at Patheos)