Summary: If you are struggling to reach the 20 something crowed and want to move you church forward. Then this sermon may help. Please read and review it.
How do we connect with the next Generation?
If you are like me and grew up in the typical Southern Baptist Church with the typical model for growth then you learned. Worship, Evangelism, Missions, Preaching and Bible Study was the key to growth. But one thing that we forgot was Vision, a God given vision. A vision as Dr. Benny King put it is “A clear mental image of a preferable future, imparted by God, based on any accurate image of where you are, and where God wants you to be.”
I want to talk to you this morning about the lost generation. We are loosing our young people in the church today. According to Barna’s Research group;
“From age 20 to 29, most individuals face many life-shaping decisions: whether to finish college; what career to pursue; where to live; whether or not to get married; who to marry; if and when to have children – among many other crucial choices. In our culture of hyper-individualism, those decisions are being increasingly shaped by people’s desire to determine their own personal fulfillment and purpose in life. For many twentysomethings, allegiance to Christian churches is a casualty of their efforts to “create their own version of fulfillment.”
A new study from the Barna Research Group of Ventura, California shows that millions of twentysomething Americans – many of whom were active in churches during their teens – pass through their most formative adult decade while putting Christianity on the backburner. The research, conducted with 2,660 twentysomethings, shows that Americans in their twenties are significantly less likely than any other age group to attend church services, to donate to churches, to be absolutely committed to Christianity, to read the Bible, or to serve as a volunteer or lay leader in churches.
Perhaps the most striking reality of twentysomething’s faith is their relative absence from Christian churches. Only 3 out of 10 twentysomethings (31%) attend church in a typical week, compared to 4 out of 10 of those in their 30s (42%) and nearly half of all adults age 40 and older (49%).
The low level of twentysomething church attendance is not just due to the “college years,” when many young adults may not have easy access to a church. The research shows that church attendance bottoms out during the late 20s when the vast majority of students have transitioned from education to the workforce. Just 22% of those ages 25 to 29 attended church in the last week.
Many twentysomethings are reversing course after having been active church attenders during their teenage years. As teenagers, more than half attended church each week and more than 4 out of 5 (81%) had ever gone to a Christian church. That means that from high school graduation to age 25 there is a 42% drop in weekly church attendance and a 58% decline from age 18 to age 29. That represents about 8,000,000 twentysomethings alive today who were active church-goers as teenagers but who will no longer be active in a church by their 30th birthday. “ (Twentysomethings Struggle to Find Their Place in the Christian Church. September 24, 2003)
The reality is true in this church and in churches across America. The real question is what can we do to become relevant to them?
I. Back in Time
In the 1985 movie “Back In Time,” Dr. Emmett Brown, a research scientist and inventor of sorts, had just made a lifetime dream a reality. He made a time machine and was about to become the first person to ever travel into the future. One problem, he had stolen some plutonium from some Libyans and they were about to show up on the scene. Before he could climb into this time machine and head off into the future, he was shot. But still on the scene was a young man named Marty, who had caught the whole event on videotape.
The Libyans approached Marty to kill him, but the gun jams just before Marty could be shot. Marty quickly jumps into the time machine and the race begins. While shifting gears to speed up, Marty accidentally turns on the time machine set to November 5, 1955, which was the exact date the Doctor had the revelation for the flux capacitor, the contraption which made time travel possible.
When the car reaches 88 miles an hour, Marty is immediately transported back in time to November 5, 1955. As the car enters the year 1955, it slams into Mr. Peabody’s barn. Mr. Peabody and his wife and two kids show up on the scene to find an enormous whole in the side of their barn and something strange inside. As they enter the barn, they discuss what the unknown object might be. At the very moment that they decide that it might be some sort of alien spacecraft, the door of the time machine opens, and out steps Marty clothed in his nuclear protection suit, looking very much like some sort of alien creature. Mr. Peabody runs to the house and grabs a shotgun and begins to fire upon this space alien that he believes is mutating into human form.