Ruth and I recently hosted our very first Bible study for young adults. As we started I wanted to answer the question, “Why am I so passionate about youth and young adults ministry?” There are three main reasons:
- My own experiences as a 15-20 year old.
I came to faith just after I turned 18. That period was probably the most vulnerable of my entire life. I was trying to figure out who I was and where I belonged. I was also incredibly anxious about the future: “What will I study? What job will I do?”
My teenage years were pretty tumultuous. I messed around a bit and got involved with the wrong crowd. I know that if I had had better connections with people my age at church, I would have saved myself a whole lot of heart-ache.
The youth ministry at my church was okay, but it wasn’t great. The bottom line was that I felt a stronger connection with my non-Christian friends than I did with my Christian friends. Even so, youth ministry played a huge part in my coming to faith.
After I came to faith I thought: “If a mediocre youth ministry can impact a young person so positively, imagine what an awesome youth ministry could do!”
- Research shows that 4 out of 5 decisions for Christ in Australia occur before the age of 20.
This is definitely true for me. There’s something about this age and stage where you’re still deciding about who you are, where you belong and what you want to do. I want to be part of that conversation!
- Research shows that 50-80% of teenagers walk away from their faith after they leave high school.
You can read more about this in Sticky Faith, available in the book stall, but three key reasons for this huge drop-off are:
- The new-found freedom a young adult enjoys (eg. university, drinking, car licence).
- The thoroughly non- (or anti-) Christian environment they are often immersed in.
- The lack of involvement in a strong Christian community on campus or at church.
If you look around at St Philip’s, you’ll notice that there is a pretty massive gap between the 15 and 30 year olds. I’d really love, by God’s grace, to see that change. I’d love to see this church brimming with 15-30 year olds but that might be a 15-30 year project! The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers into the harvest (Matt 9:37-38).