Teens and young adults are often forgotten in stereotypical churches. While the church may have a service or Sunday school class for the kids, they usually don’t have one for teens. And that’s sad. The Father cares about all His children and so should the church. Of course, a lot of older people think that millenials and teens don’t care about God and that’s a huge mistake. They assume they don’t go to church but the truth is they go, they just might not go to yours and there is a reason for that.
I have attended conferences and services that seem to only discuss youth when they are being disrespectful or flippant. I have heard things like, “Do you even read the Bible?”, “Young people don’t care about God and it’s really sad,” and even “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” Why would anyone attend a church if they feel disrespected and unheard? Church hurt is a real thing and sadly, most of the victims are young.
Here are a few helpful tips on engaging with the youth and bringing more in.
- Treat them with respect. Would you go somewhere if you felt you weren’t wanted. No. And you may say that you go to church for God and not the people but for those just starting on their journey, you see God through the people and if the people are rude and backbiting, God doesn’t seem like a great option, does He? If you want more young people in your congregation treat them with respect and care.
- Talk about the hard subjects. Young people aren’t children. Show them what the Bible says about mental health, death, marriage, rape. The Word is illuminating but often youth don’t know where to go but they are curious. Take the time to teach them.
- Use music they have heard and can relate to. Sing songs from this millenia, just saying. And at a youth service, it’s okay to let them pick the music. They want to feel close to God and music is one way to usher in the presence of the Lord.
- Get them involved in the work. You would be surprised at how many young people actually want to get involved but don’t feel welcome. Ask them (but don’t force it) and if there is a youth service, have them run it (with the help of the elders in the church, of course).
- Have services/events just for them. Whether it is a Sunday service or a Friday service, offer a time where the majority of those in attendance are younger. Have the youth lead the worship and from time to time have one bring the message. Get them involved and make them feel comfortable and included.
- Ask them what they want to know about from a godly perspective. Young people are curious and want to learn. The Bible is full of wisdom and knowledge, ask them how your church can make itself more inclusive.
The Bible tells us to share God’s law, to pass it on from generation to generation. That’s hard to do if you treat the youth as though they are too young to do God’s work old enough to already know everything about His Word.
What does your ministry do to engage or involve the youth? Do you find any of these tips helpful?
Our purpose is to rise holy, even if you fall you are still able to rise.