If you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s please do NOT stop reading! If you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s, you need to know that you are coveted by church leaders. In fact, you are often the center of our conversations. When I returned home from the beach last Friday, the most recent copy of Nurturing Faith was in our mailbox. Nurturing Faith is a Baptist news publication. I point to the titles of two brief articles about young adults: 1) “Losing their religion: Younger adults are less religious, and not only in the US” and 2) “Why millennials are really leaving religion”.
Young adults are a difficult puzzle for the church to solve. Why are young adults leaving the church? Why are they not as active as their parents and grandparents were when they were young adults? What can we do to convince young adults that a full-on commitment to the church will enhance their lives? It is not just church leaders, however, who hold this concern. I recently heard an elderly church member say, “The young people just aren’t interested.”
The following words from the article “Losing their religion” offer a succinct summary of the situation: “In the post-World War II years, younger Americans reported attending [church] at least as often as their elders … That trend peaked in the late 1950s, when people ages 30 to 39 attended church as frequently as people age 60 and over. But church attendance among young people has fallen ever since.”
Here at First Baptist, we have young adults. However, it is true that our young adults are not as active in the life of our church as our senior adults. And it is true that our young adults are not as frequent in their worship participation as our senior adults. Trust me on this, I have the best seat in the house on Sunday mornings! Many of our senior adults simply do not miss 12 Sundays in a year. And it is not because they have nothing else to do. It is because participation in the life of the church enhances their day-to-day living. Trust me on this too – I talk to these people a lot!
If you are in your 20s, 30s, or 40s, I ask: will you give the 12 Sundays challenge a go? As of this writing, we have 63 people signed up for the 12 Sundays challenge. Not bad – we are only 17 people short of our goal of 80. I note, however, that the great majority of the people signed up are well passed their 40s. We do have two folks in their late 20s and one person in her early 30s who have decided to try and miss no more than 12 Sundays for a year. Kudos to them!
So, young adults, can I entice more of you to give the 12 Sundays challenge a go? Will you commit to missing very little church for one year? I suggest if you do, you will experience a more satisfying life. Your marriage will have a stronger foundation. Your children will be better prepared to handle the pressures of adolescence. And, most important, the radiance of Christ that you put forth will shine brighter.