I read all the books and look at the statistics about this generation and honestly what I read does not match up with many 18-25 year olds I meet. I'm here at Passion 2012 and I am watching and listening to them and it is clear to me that college students are not ready to leave the church, just ready to do church in a new way. Many of those kids who supposedly dropped out of church just stopped going to church out of obligation and connected with on campus ministries that are reaching college students. Every week at Grace Community we watch these college students that get trashed in the media and many christian circles serve, give, and plug into our church. We watch high school students that leave our church for college go to their city and find a place to plug in and then come back on breaks to serve. Maybe it's our churches that are broken and not this generation. I promise, if you do not design your church environment and strategy with the college and high school student in mind you will not reach them. It's not their fault so many churches are more focused on keeping the status quo rather than making disciples. Here are a few things I know for sure about this generation of 18-25 year olds.
- They want us to teach them God's Word / in a world that is full of deception this generation is begging for someone to stop selling them half truths and empty promises. It may take them time to integrate God's truth into their daily life but they are begging for clear direction.
- They want to be part of the solution / this generation is ready to bring healing to this broken planet, not just talk about it. This week I have watched college kids give over 1 million dollars in 2 days to fight the global epidemic of slavery. They are ready to serve, give, and go right now and they will not wait for our permission.
- They are abandoning the American dream / their american dream has already been broken and they are ok with it. This generation is ready for a new dream.
- They know they are broken / they know they are broken and every day more and more of them hit the bottom because of their search for instant gratification through porn, empty relationships, drugs, and alcohol. They get it...this is not working and it's not working for many of the older adults that surround them.
- They are ready to plug into your church / yes I said it, they want to plug into your church. They will come when they know it's ok to come as the broken people they are and search for healing and community. We watch it happen every week at our church and I know it is happening all over the world in churches that are willing to be havens for the next generation.
- They demand to participate not just sit and listen / if you want to reach the next generation then be ready to allow them to shape and mold the church that belongs to them anyway. The church has to be shaped by the young not the old. We have to be willing to allow this generation to have a seat at the table.