A few things I’ve learnt about ministry to Young Adults in 3 years.

  • I recently celebrated 3 years on staff at Discovery Church as the Young Adults Pastor and have been asked a few times lately, what have I learnt from my time on staff. Having seen the ministry nearly triple in the last 3 years in terms of engagement in LifeGroups from 80 to 200+ and leaders from 18 to 40+ we have learnt a lot. Although these has been great growth, there has also been pruning, and many trials along the way. So… here are a few things I have learnt over the last 3 years.

    • Between the ages of 17-23 is the number one time that people walk away from their faith and 50% of teenagers graduate highschool and their faith at the same time. (Rethink Group Research). Therefore the “Young Adult Years” are an essential time to invest into Young Adults.
    • The key issue here is transition. There is so much transition in the life of a Young Adult that the church needs to be walking beside youth as they transition to Young Adults, not just “sending them to big church”.
    • The best people to lead Young Adults are not Young Adults (this coming from a 27 year old Young Adults Pastor!)- they are 30-50 year olds. Research and experience shows me this. However, those 30 to 50 year olds do best when paired up with a Young Adult. Best scenario is an older married couple with a younger (20s) apprentice leader.
    • LifeGroups / Bible Study Groups are essential.
    • Be consistent. Random events in a time where everything is random for a Young Adult, don’t seem to work.
    • Honour “big church”, your Senior Minister, and your Elders.
    • Youth leaders must commit to transitioning their older youth into Young Adults, you can’t just leave them at year 12, everyone is is doing that (workplaces, schools etc.). Transition them at the end of year 13 (one year out of school) once they are established in the Young Adults Ministry.
    • Meals are essential, as a big group and as small groups- there is power in breaking bread together.
    • Young Adults need adventure and a mission, so get them on overseas and local missions trips as much as possible
    • Don’t do it alone, network with other Young Adults Pastors, read books, listen to podcasts, go to conferences etc.
    • Let the Holy Spirit guide you, and don’t try to build anything on your own, let God build it, and partner with Him.
    • Think structure before you need structure.
    • Take risks.
    • Dream big.
    • Make sure your first ministry (your family) doesn’t suffer at the expense of your second ministry at church.
    • Make time to reach the lost.
    • Champion and celebrate those who are doing what you are believing for.
    • Be prepared to make hard decisions and ask people to come off the team when needed. You will reproduce who your leaders are, not who you wish they were.
    • Appreciate your team, and their families.
    • Give God the glory.
    • Have fun.

    Got questions or comments? Feel free to comment below or contact me.

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