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Insights for Healthy Models of Reaching Young Adults


Title: Slide 1 Author: LBEARD Last modified by: SMCCONN Created Date: 2/12/2009 10:30:06 PM Document presentation format: On-screen Show Company: LifeWay Christian ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Insights for Healthy Models of Reaching Young Adults

Insights for Healthy Models of Reaching Young
Adults Oklahoma
Study Overview
  • Based on the desire to reach a new generation
    with the gospel BGCO commissioned LifeWay
    Research to examine a cross-section of churches
    in Oklahoma to obtain insights into key
    principles for healthy models of reaching young

  • LifeWay Research and BGCO sought to identify
    churches with exemplary young adult ministries
  • SBC churches were identified based on young adult
    baptisms and participation data and referrals
  • Non-SBC churches were identified by referral

  • Other selection criteria
  • Minimum of 2 churches located in metro areas
  • Minimum of 2 churches located in rural areas or
    small towns
  • Maximum of 4 mega churches
  • 79 interviews were conducted with staff members,
    lay leaders, and young adults of 8 Southern
    Baptist and 9 Non-Southern Baptist churches
    across Oklahoma

  • Staff member most responsible for young adult
    ministry was interviewed
  • Staff member was also asked to supply two leaders
    and two young adults from their ministry to be

Church Vision Purpose
  • Establish a clear purpose and mission for young
    adult ministry
  • Chisholm Heights pastor Dave Bryan took the
    church through a process to refine the purpose
    and vision of the entire church. This led to
    renewed initiatives for reaching young adult

  • Integrate your young adult ministry with the
    identity, values and expression of your church
  • Being in a college town, I see so many college
    ministries that are . . . not under the banner of
    a church. But we are under the authority of
    Journey Church, which creates a lot of buzz
    because we have students thatll come on Sunday
    who have never been to our Tuesday night
    experience. And theyll see that our church is
    young and focused.
  • -Tim Mannon, Journey Church

  • Be willing to try new things as you look for more
    effective methods
  • attributes their ability to stay
    relevant to a willingness to try new things and a
    willingness to fail. That kind of
    innovation-type approach involves transparency
    ...meaning we are willing to say we made a
    mistake. This is a characteristic that resonates
    with the younger culture.
  • -Bobby Gruenewald,

  • Use the resources God has given you
  • Emmanuel Church created Refuge, a new young adult
    service, which meets in the multi-purpose area of
    the church on Sunday mornings. Although set-up
    and tear-down is required every week because of
    the multiple uses of this area, the leaders view
    it as a stewardship opportunity and are thankful
    the space was available.

  • Be bold enough to make the necessary changes in
    order to effectively reach young adults
  • Church at Battlecreek purged the words singles
    ministry from everything they do. Most of their
    young adults are single and they do address
    topics like relationships and sex outside of
    marriage. They want to be identified for who
    they are, not their marital status.
  • Chris Colvin, Church at Battlecreek

Building Community Authentic Relationships
  • Consistently provide a place and opportunities
    for young adults to build relationships with
    others in the church
  • Emmanuel Church hosts a monthly Friends Night.
    This Sunday evening event is promoted to small
    groups and Sunday School classes. They are
    encouraged to gather together and have fun. The
    church provides childcare for those who need it.

  • Intentionally cross-pollinate relationships from
    multiple generations
  • The church members really incorporate all of us
    into the service and into the church every
    weekend. This gives the young adults ownership of
    what is taking place within the church walls and
    places within them the desire to continue to
  • Young adult, Northview Community Church

  • Ensure your churchs physical environment
    includes places that are conducive to building
  • At First Missionary Baptist Church, the welcome
    area received a makeover designed to create an
    inviting and casual atmosphere for individuals as
    they arrived for Fusion worship. The leaders of
    Fusion point to the coffee bar as an invaluable
    and strategic addition to their ministry.

Small Groups
  • Offer a diverse menu of small groups with a
    diverse time schedule, meeting in multiple venues
  • At Emmanuel Baptist Church, an array of small
    groupsLife Groups for single young adults and
    Community groups for young marriedsmeet every
    night of the week.

  • Create an inviting environment in your small
    groups that also challenges participants to
    serveboth will appeal to the unchurched.
  • We find that a young adult just coming in off
    the street is more apt to come to a home group
    than to a worship service. We encourage home
    groups to do mission projects, outreach, and
    other ministries.
  • Jamie Austin, Lawton First Assembly of God

  • Establish goals for each small group
  • We have three goals for our small groups 1) a
    place to belong 2) a place to change 3) a place
    to reach We place emphasis on these 3 keys of
    belonging, changing and reaching. In order to
    have a healthy life group, all 3 of these
    principles must be used.
  • Kevin Choate, Emmanuel Church

  • Intentionally make small groups a safe and secure
  • Young adults will begin to discuss their lives
    and the Bible study if they feel safe and secure
    in their environment. If they have a problem,
    they know they can come to that group for help.
    Whether the need is physical or spiritual, they
    know the group will meet the need. The group
    continues to call and talk to one another after
    the class ends.
  • Mike Gentry, a volunteer at Church of The Servant

  • Give young adults a sense of ownership of their
    small groups
  • If someone wants to start a home group, there
    are materials and curriculum available from the
    church. They pick the material and the night, and
    host a home group for whatever age group they
  • Brent Jenkins, Eagle Heights Church

  • Meet young adults expectations to serve
  • Young adults have a higher awareness than a lot
    of other age groups of what it means to be
    missional. They want to know when they give
    money to the church where it is going and what it
    is doing. We want to see our money and our time
    spent helping and reaching out.
  • Joey Carpenter, First Missionary Baptist Church

  • Strategically include missions as a core
    expectation of small groups
  • Bridgeway Church has organized their house
    churches based on a missional focus rather than
    age or social class. Each house church targets a
    neighborhood they can help or a network of single
    moms. One of the most effective things I have
    seen has been the equipping and sending out of
    people to be missional in their own lives and
  • Zac Bottomly, Bridgeway Church

  • Present with passion service activities and
    mission projects
  • Service activities at the Church at Battlecreek
    see a remarkable involvement from young adults,
    due to the church staff's passion as they
    introduce missional opportunities.

  • Provide opportunities for young adults to serve
    with multiple generations of church members
  • FBC of Madill has an ongoing local ministry that
    adopts four or five homes in the community to
    paint, roof, install siding, and do other
    maintenance projects. These home makeovers are
    great opportunities for multiple generations
    within the church to engage in missions, as well
    as to develop cross-generational relationships.

  • Create an environment that celebrates the
    preferences and style of the generation you are
    seeking to reach
  • The Refuge worship service is full of energythe
    lights are dimmed and there are strobe lights and
    the music is really, really loud and people want
    to dance. But at the same time the entire service
    is focused on God.
  • Amy Zimmerman, Emmanuel

  • Dont let the experience of worship obscure the
    One who is being worshiped
  • We are very Jesus-centric in our preaching. If
    we finish writing a sermon and it doesnt help
    people meet Jesus, then we have read the text
    wrong. We tear it up and burn it and start all
    over again and repent.
  • Ryan Abernathy, Journey Fellowship

  • Make the teaching relevant to your audience
  • Young adults who attend the Thursday night
    service at First Assembly of God in Lawton are
    described as a pool of shallow and deep
    Christians and non-Christians. Therefore, the
    speaker must present a message that is relevant
    and applicable to people in all stages of life.
    We are so careful not to use what we call
    Christianese, or Christian lingo, at all.

  • Consider specific worship services for young
  • At Asbury Church, the service most young adults
    attend is called Venue 6-8, which takes place in
    a new youth building with an 850-seat auditorium.
    The senior pastor preaches to the church via
    simulcast for this service.

  • Use relationships to spur outreach
  • The Peoples Church offers monthly relational
    events or Connect Groups. They serve to bridge
    the gap for young adults from the worship service
    to small groups. Peoples Churchs four identical
    Sunday morning services are well attended by
    young adults. Connect groups provide
    opportunities to build relationships that help
    them get plugged into community groups.

  • Encourage leaders to build relationships with
    young adults
  • We need to figure out better ways of attracting
    young people without having to attract them.
    Mainly that would come through relationships
    instead of Heres the big show.It starts with
    leaders and the relationships they have and how
    we can build those with young people that dont
    know Jesus yet.
  • Zac Bottomly, Bridgeway Church

  • Train your young adults to reach others
  • Most of the new young adults coming to Church of
    the Servant are coming because young adults
    involved in the ministry have invited them to
    come. The young adult members are going to be
    more effective than any of the older adults when
    inviting young adults to the church.
  • Mike Gentry, Church of the Servant

  • We have found that free food is a major draw for
    students. Nearly every event involves food of
    some kind.
  • Jamie Austin, Lawton First Assembly

  • Think strategically by considering the lifestyle
    patterns of young adults
  • We go where people are. This includes having
    the mens small group meet in places where young
    adults are found such as certain restaurants.
  • Ryan Abernathy, The Journey Fellowship

  • Encourage consistency in attendance
  • If we could increase the frequency at which
    people connected with the church, we could give
    them reasons to come this weekend and reasons to
    come next weekend, and that process led to a
    higher degree of engagement overall and the more
    likely they are to invite other people.
  • Bobby Gruenewald,

  • Take advantage of technology for communication
  • Lawton First Assembly of God relies heavily upon
    e-mail, phone calls, text-messages, Facebook,
    video, and podcasts for communicating with young
    adults. While relationships start in person
    technology keeps people connected
  • Soldiers to receive podcasts of services when
  • Volunteers receive email updates
  • Facebook wall posts or a text message can ask if
    a friend will be at Fusion this week

  • Dont underestimate the power of technology to
    gain the attention of young adults
  • Technology is in some ways the backbone of the
    young adult ministry at Asbury. The sermon is
    given via simulcast, and digital signs and
    televisions relay announcements. Wide-screen
    televisions, high-definition projectors, three
    plasma monitors, high-definition big screens,
    lights, video imagery, and more are built into
    the service to enhance the appeal to young

  • Use technology to enhance the worship experience
  • The Peoples Church places a premium on first
    impression. They utilize large-screen projection,
    theatrical lighting, and creative video
    production to aid the mood and emotions of the
    worship service.

  • Look first to your own field as you seek to
    recruit leadership for this ministry
  • Gerod Grigor was a member of Norman Community
    Church for several months before coming on staff.
    He loves being on staff at the church where he
    was attending. Greg said he doesnt feel like a
    hired hand because he was already involved and
    embraces the vision of the church.

  • Cast the vision for young adult ministry
  • Our pastors vision, specifically, is for the
    next generation. In general, it would be to lead
    people to be fully-devoted followers of Christ.
    More specifically, it is for children and
    teenagers. He has always had a heart for young
    people. Our pastor is very involved with us
    relationally. He is our cheerleader.
  • Jamie Austin, Lawton First Assembly of God

  • Tap older adults as leaders who can also mentor
  • An incredible foundation has been laid by the
    older generations in our church. Do not try and
    avoid this foundation and lay another for a
    younger generation. There are many treasures to
    be discovered and used from older generations
    because they have lived through the same
    situations that many young adults are
    experiencing in their current lives.
  • Todd Craig, Asbury

  • Discussion is a key component for Bible studies
    with young adults
  • I think the most effective time during our small
    groups are when the young adults are the ones
    leading the conversation by discussing the lesson
    and their lives. Young adults share when they
    know they are in a safe place.
  • Mike Gentry, Church of the Servant

  • Provide mentoring programs to disciple and to
    assimilate newcomers
  • Lawton First Assembly of God has discovered that
    young adults are looking for any opportunity to
    get together and hang out. Realizing that, the
    staff has taken the opportunity to provide
    fellowship as well as discipleship. Austin said,
    We hold church sporting events that bring older
    men together with our younger men.

Theological Issues
  • Discuss current trends in society by speaking to
    the issues
  • The young adults at Church of the Servant had
    many diverse conversations about the recent
    election. As they discussed the subject, some
    leaders were surprised at the diversity of
    opinions that existed among the adults.

  • Jesus must be the ultimate focus. Young adults
    need their faith solidified
  • The ultimate thing is for young people to know
    Jesus Christ. We give them Jesus. That is the
    main thing. We really take them right back to
    Scripture and teach them why they believe the way
    they do.
  • Jamie Austin, Lawton First Assembly of God

  • Teach issues that are relevant to the young
    adults everyday life
  • Young adults have lost their identity. They are
    transitioning from high school to college and
    they are trying to figure life out. The second is
    connection. It is important to get connected with
    a community of people based on Christs love.The
    last is fulfillment. Relate to them that
    fulfillment is found, not in advancement through
    your career, but in service.
  • Chris Colvin, Battlecreek

Insights for Healthy Models of Reaching Young
Adults Oklahoma