Headlines from First Thoughts

Thursday, June 08, 2006

More Implications

3.) Expect more. These generations volunteered to be missionaries among the Taliban and fight in Afghanistan and Iraq. They will do the unthinkable; it might as well be through your organization.

4.) Collaborate with parachurch ministries. Church is one of many spiritual vendors in society. Young Life, Campus Crusade, etc., are all part of the spiritual formation of these students. Don’t resist it; affirm it. Buy into it; work with these organizations. Learn from them, and build community with them.

In a recent article on youth ministry, The New York Times suggested that students are going to one church for worship, another church or parachurch for Bible study, and another to assist in the community. I anticipate this trend to carry into adulthood. If you are not the worship place for students, provide another way to connect with them.

5.) Release control. One thing we’re learning is that these students not only want to attend worship, they desire to own the experience. If it is right for your context, start a service to reach this generation. If it is not, know that many in this generation will appreciate the ancient traditions of the faith if they connect with you and own part of the church. We cannot expect this group to be a part of something they have little input into. They need to feel ownership in the church and its ministries. It’s not about style, it’s about ownership and authenticity.

6.) Be the faith family for these generations. Multigenerations are back. Community is important. One college student said, “Be the community I never had at home.” Where Willow Creek and Saddleback pioneered niche market churches, now young people want to connect with spiritual grandparents. Pair senior adults with college students for mission projects. Create opportunities for mentoring and service. Adopt a college student, share life, and learn from each other.

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