Guest Author: Jake Kim.
How can churches grow younger? The book “Growing Young,” written by the Fuller Youth Institute, looks at various strategies to help develop meaningful youth and young adult ministries. Their work is based on research from over 250 churches of all sizes, denominations, and theological backgrounds who were identified as “growing younger” by effectively engaging young people between the ages of 15 and 29 years of age.
The three top traits of congregations that are growing younger are that they:
1) Empathize with today’s young people
2) Take Jesus’ message seriously
3) Fuel a warm community.
If you are interested in learning more about these findings and strategies, I would encourage you to visit www.churchesgrowingyoung.org .
The good news is that congregations are adapting and developing meaningful youth and young adult ministries, and these efforts are not just attracting youth but also helping entire congregations to thrive. I invite San Gabriel Presbytery pastors and Sessions to consider: How warm is your community? How clearly do your ministries show that you take the gospel seriously? To what extent are you able to empathize with young people? Thoughtful self-reflection around these key traits is a useful exercise for any congregation and just might help you begin to “grow younger.”
As Associate for Ministry Development for San Gabriel Presbytery, I am the resource person for SGP’s Education Committee. One of our mandates is to liaise and support the Tapestry Youth Collective of San Gabriel Presbytery, which equips and encourages collaborative youth ministry activities and mission projects between our churches. Sophia Alecci is the new moderator of Tapestry and also works as the Director of Student Ministries at San Marino Community Church (See her article below). Sophia would love to be a resource for San Gabriel churches looking for ideas to develop youth ministries. Please feel free to contact Sophia at (206) 327-7875 or firstname.lastname@example.org or myself, Rev. Jake Kim, at 626-487-1511 or email@example.com .
In Christ’s Service,
Associate for Ministry Development -SGP Education Committee Resource Person
Message from SGP Tapestry Youth Collective Moderator – Sophia Alecci
When I was a student in the church, I had mentors that were invested in my growth. They supported me, challenged me, and just hung out with me. Students are the future of the church, and the church needs to be a community that welcomes our youth in! The church should be a space that fosters important dialogue with our students, and creates spaces that students can both laugh and cry in. When attendance is dwindling a church is cutting budgets, too often it is the student ministries that is the first to go. If we want the church to continue to grow, we must invest into our young people!
Moderator of SGP Tapestry Youth Collective