By: David Amsler

Words you’ll likely never hear around church: “We have way too many young people!” Most churches are aging. The median age is growing older. As people age and die, so do congregations.

Church leaders often ignore this, until a sobering thought becomes a wake-up call: “if we continue to decline, we can’t afford to keep the church open.” A young family visits and they see few other young families. They don’t return. The church’s momentum is in a tailspin. The congregation is behind the power curve. Want to attract more young families?

Focus on these issues:

  1. It’s the wrong motive when you want young families to join just so you can perpetuate the institution. How often have you heard, “We need to get some new, young blood in this church?” This mercenary approach reflects an attitude of using people. God wants us to love people. Your care about the spiritual welfare of all people (including young families) is the motive God will respect.
  2. If, in your church, most people are over 40, you probably don’t know how to reach young families.
  3. Our world has changed. This is considered a different era. Those 40 years old or older are from the “modern era.” Those born in the last couple of decades are “Post moderns.” They don’t just think different thoughts. They think different ways.
  4. It is possible to learn how Post moderns think. It is possible – with significant effort – to learn how to communicate with Post moderns. But it is not very likely!
  5. Many churches struggle to capture the attention of young adults because they don’t speak the language. Why? They don’t think the thoughts.
  6. Some church leaders believe that if they had the right program they would somehow attract young adults. It most likely will not happen.
  7. There is a better strategy, which includes spiritual renewal. It includes a return to a biblical, missional culture. It occurs when you follow a carefully-disciplined plan, which often takes 18 months or more. This is not doctrine, but tactics, with theological implications.
  8. Your church is then ready to set up a discipleship training mechanism for young adults. You invite 12-25 young adults to train to be 21st century missionaries. As they train, they attract other young adults from the community. They know the language – it’s in their DNA. Soon your church grows with an influx of young adults.

There is a future for churches with the right motives, right training, and the right strategy. Those churches will lead a new era of Christianity. It has already begun!

How is your church attracting young families? We welcome your comments below.

Kent Hunter is known as the Church Doctor. His most recent e-books are The Future Is Now and The J-Dog Journey, available at no cost. Contact him at (800) 626-8515, or you can visit www.churchdoctor.org.

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2 Comments, RSS

  • Steven Kurtz

    says on:
    March 26, 2014 at 9:44 pm

    ” You invite 12-25 young adults to train ” – if only we had 12-25 young adults. We don’t have even one.

  • Tracee

    says on:
    March 28, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    Thanks for the comment Steve – We have a some options to help you reach those young adults. Check out http://www.sendnorthamerica.com. It’s an initiative we have launched to help churches reach young adults. Would be happy to talk to you about this.

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