Different churches have different strengths. One of Springfield’s has always been the children and youth elements of church. We have not only a great team of leaders in those areas but we also have a lot of children and youth who come.
My best guess is that 40% of the church is under the age of 18. But what do you do when you get to 18?
In the past most of our young people went off to University and we ducked the issue – it was someone else’s issue. Although it wasn’t really because there are a lot of people in the 18-30 age group in the area – they just don’t go to church or they are on the margins of the church. We have realised that we have about 40-50 people in the 18-30 age range in the church. It’s just that quite a few are at the margins or haven’t worked out what they are doing.
We had Gavin Calver, the director of Youth for Christ, come to preach on Sunday. The more important part of his visit for me was his coming to lunch to discuss our looking to launch a young adults ministry. He was very helpful and gave us some good ideas. Indeed he pointed out that there were fewer people in the 18-30 age group in church now than at any time in the past 300 years (not sure of the provenance of that but unless we are in a uni town that feels about right). He also pointed out that the key age group is 18-25 and that if someone is worshipping at the age of 25 then they, are relatively safe.
Well we are now putting a lot of effort into bringing our young adults together. We are starting with a social evening this Thursday, we are then looking to hold an alpha at our local cafe Nero. We are hoping that at least one cell group may come out of this and we are also looking at an over-arching ministry called “emerge” that will be run by our curate Donna and supported by others (including our youth pastor, Becca and cell co-ordinator, Angie) to ensure that we have times and places where our young adults can gather and feel part of something larger than themselves and that they don’t get overlooked. It will also allow our young people at university to have a place to return to.
I’m sure that we will make loads of mistakes. But I am certain that there is a good way forward, we just need to work it out! Anyone with experience of this or any ideas then please let me know!