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Evangelical Mission Blog

RSS By: Pastor Lamont Anthony Wells

Pastor Lamont Anthony Wells shares his thoughts about evangelical mission.

Knowing where they live: Young Adults

Jul 20, 2015

GCTblogquoteI have grown lonely in the church. Although God is very present, my peers and young adult friends are often missing from this ecclesiastical journey with me. I invite them and they attend sporadically. Most aren’t interested in being consistently connected to a church. They are not lost; I know exactly where they are. In fact, most of my friendships and connections to young adults occur when I leave the church on Sunday and rush to brunch, the park, yoga, spin/cycle class, etc.


A Time Magazine article (May 2013) about "Millennials" did what older generations have done throughout history: called the younger generation lazy, shallow, and entitled narcissists. I truly think we have to refrain from stereotyping this generation. In light of the statistics and glaring realities, the truth remains that young adults are absent in the pews. The day has passed when many young adults would seek out the church as an institution to belong. If we expect numerous young adults to invade the church, we may be waiting forever. There are just absolutely too many other things captivating their interests. As I do each week, the church must rush to engage this group and be found where the action is.


In order to reach anyone, especially young adults, with the gospel, serious attention should be given to showing the relevance of the Gospel to his or her experience. Things are moving so fast, and the younger population has developed survival skills that protect them in the ever-changing world. There is a strong culture of tentativeness about life. Too often their daily experience reveals the brevity of life. They understand that if they are going to succeed they must go for it now. Whether one agrees or disagrees with their value-choices, one thing is sure: they pursue what they believe is right for them to be and have. What does the church have to offer them?


Everyday young adults are making significant contributions to our communities. As seen in the Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter Movements, they are no longer satisfied with only watching things happen around them, but want to participate in making things happen and shaping the outcome. As we approach the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Church in 2017, I am afraid that we will pay far too much attention to monuments, relics, and iconic records of the history of Lutheranism when we need to revisit the power of the reforming movement as a way of being church together. That’s one of the strongest values of our history that deeply connects us to younger generations. Our church looks to participate in the global community of change.



Jesus said to the Church in the city of Pergamum, "I know where you live," (Revelation 2:13, NIV), and so we must be prepared to say the same to our young adults in our communities, regions, and towns. We must know where they live. We should listen to the joys and sorrows that each one encounters. We must go where they are and share in their lives without judgment. We must pay more attention and respond to their fears, concerns, and desires. And when we do, and they know that we do, they will be ready to hear the message of salvation that we bring. Those moments and connections may never look like the church that we once knew, but it will be a great fellowship of believers-yes the church of Jesus Christ.

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