The experience of 2020 has changed the perspective of many young people of faith. They are becoming less interested in big and flashy and hype. They tend to be looking for simple, genuine and real connections with others in ways that will nourish them as people and nurture a strong faith. They are less likely to be interested in events for events sake. When they are, they want the event to serve the nurturing of genuine connection or the practical equipping of people to grow as disciples and disciple others. This is an exciting time for us to lean into young adult ministry. The message of God’s love for all people is best able to respond to the expressed needs and desires of this generation.
The gift of this generation for years to come will be their unrelenting and simple focus on Love, Connection, Community, and Discipleship. This focus is not easily distracted by the many trappings that besiege our culture and the church today. I believe that a great renewal and harvest will come from what this generation has learnt and discovered in this season. Praise God.
On Monday the 12th of October I gathered a group of young adults so I could listen to how 2020 has been for them and to discern together what new things God is calling us into. I wanted to explore how this year has shifted what they see as the key need for young adults going into 2021 and beyond so that this age group can thrive in life and faith.
The main takeaway was that 2020 has brought into sharp focus for young people the central role that relationships play in life and faith. In particular, they yearn genuine faith relationships where people can be honest, vulnerable and real and in return feel a sense of support and encouragement along with accountability for growth.
There was an acknowledgement that throughout lockdown and continuing through 2020, significant faith-based peer connections have been central to the faith growth or lack thereof of young adults. This has mostly been facilitated through small groups in person and online. One young adult mentioned that “small groups have been the Hero of this year.”
Along with this, there has been a growing awareness and desire for significant life and faith connections with older and more mature adults. Young adults are hungry to grow and understand that this happens best in the context of caring and intentional relationships. This is a theme I hear more and more as I work with young adults. They want mature Christian adults in their community to connect with them, mentor them, and help them grow in life and faith. They want to see mentoring and discipleship become central and a “norm” to Christian young adult culture.