1st Commonality of Churches Growing among Generations Y & Z
If you asked every church in the country, whether or not they wanted to have more young people in their congregations, I am willing to say that 100% would have such a desire. Generation Y, “Millennials" and Generation Z are two of the least “churched” generations in the history of the United States. Church membership, worship attendance and personal engagement in Christianity as a whole have been declining for a decade, and this is true in recent years at Community.Fuller Theological Seminary observed that different and diverse congregations have bucked this trend and are successfully reaching people ages 15-29. We went over the six commonalities of the congregations growing younger on January 1 in worship and from here we are covering the first commonalities mentioned the book among these congregations; which was that they focused on empowering people to do ministry, particularly young people.
Jesus Ministry Began with Young People
If we accept biblical scholarship and simple mathematics, Jesus was the same age as some older millennials are now, during his earthly ministry. It is reasonable to assume that most of Jesus’ closest followers, his disciples, were probably in their twenties and thirties as well. The movement that Jesus started was a movement of young people with a great deal of help from God. We are a part of the continuation of that movement, begun so many centuries ago. Jesus’ movement focused on those who were powerless and uplifting and empowering them: Feeding the hungry, healing the sick, and embracing those who are othered and ostracized by their communities. Jesus teaches people to have a kingdom vision of the world and that vision should influence how we live. This is vision we seek to have as Christians and we seek to live out Jesus’ redemptive, reconciling and empowering mission in our communities. This is the work that Church continues through the power of the Holy Spirit.
What Are We Doing at CUMC to Grow with Young People
Over the summer and into the fall as your pastors and the Nominations and Lay Leadership committee met, we were intentional about pursuing people, young or young at heart, with gifts and graces for particular ministries groups or committees. In particular, Pastors kept young adults (18-35) in mind as we were considering who would be good for church leadership. We are committed to having young people being at the decision making table and having decision making responsibility for CUMC. We are close to having someone below the age of 40 on every decision making body in the church. We value their God-given talents and abilities and we need their perspective as we move forward in the next season. We are seeking to empower people with gifts and graces that God gave them. We are also working on establishing evening care for children (6-12), so that there parents can be a part of the things that are going on here at CUMC without them having to worry about child care in the evenings.
What Can You Do to Empower Young People at CUMC
Empowering young people cannot stop with Nominations and Lay Leadership or Church Council, we need you to take part in the effort to empower younger people. In your groups, social circles, and organizations; be intentional about building relationships with young people, invite young people to be a part of the decisions you are making, ask them what they want to do, value their opinions, let them make mistakes, mentor them when they begin new roles. There are many other ways that would be appropriate ways to empower young people through the ministries of the church that you will think of on your own. How you choose to empower and invest in newer generations of people or not is really up to you. But empowering young people can be our way forward as a Community and it can be a part of our next life cycle as congregation, which will enable more people to come to know Jesus Christ through the ministries of Community United Methodist Church.
Grace and Peace be with you,