One of the best ways to combat disengagement is to have a well-developed plan to equip young adults to serve in ministry in the church.
By Steven Ackley
Many churches vocalize frustrations that few young adults participate and serve in the life of their church. But, if you’re not willing to train and place young adults in significant places of service, you can almost guarantee that they will not show up. And even if they do, they won’t stick."If you’re not willing to train and place young adults in significant places of service, you can almost guarantee that they will not show up. And even if they do, they won’t stick.” — @stevenackley Click To Tweet
One of the best ways to combat this disengagement is to have a well-developed plan to equip and train young adults to serve in ministry in your church. Here are six ways to do just that.
1. Onboard volunteers well
This is especially true for young adults who may have never served in the church. For many churches, there is a hesitancy around students or kids serving in their churches. As a result, many young adults first experience opportunities to serve the church during this season of life. We must have a helpful, clear, and involved onboarding process for new volunteers and leaders.
2. Make the preparation process for serving consistent
Now, in light of the first point, it may seem unnecessary to strategically onboard young adults who have previously served in the church. But it is essential that we make the preparation process for serving consistent for everyone. This levels the playing field for those of different generations and backgrounds and raises the expectations of all who serve. This preparation should also be consistent in different ministry areas.
3. Provide regular training
If you’ve ever played a sport or prepared for a race or physical challenge, you understand the importance of regular training. The same is true in preparing young adults to serve in the church. We must be intentional about training them, but not just initially. Regularly scheduled and easily accessible training must be provided for all who serve in your church.“Regularly scheduled and easily accessible training must be provided for all who serve in your church.” — @stevenackley Click To Tweet
4. Provide shadowing opportunities
“Do as I say, not as I do” is a saying many parents and church leaders have operated by for years. We’ve taught people they ought to do certain things and act certain ways without setting an example that demonstrates the things we hope to see from them. An easy solution to this issue is shadowing. Invite young adults to come alongside and learn to serve by observing and attempting leadership in different ministry areas. Shadowing can be helpful in preparing people to effectively and faithfully serve in the local church.
5. Give young adults access to other faithful leaders
It’s highly uncommon to find a rag-tag, living off of ramen, torn jeans young adult outside the offices of church leaders. But access to leaders in the church is something young adults often desire. Giving them this type of access to learn and journey beside church and ministry leaders can help develop and train them for service in the church.
6. Give young adults leadership opportunities
A final way to train young adults to serve in the local church is to provide leadership opportunities. It is crucial that we willingly consider how to grow access to key leadership roles for young adults, both in staff and lay capacities. This is risky, but if we train well, it will increase the pipeline of volunteers and leaders who serve in our churches.“It is crucial that we willingly consider how to grow access to key leadership roles for young adults, both in staff and lay capacities.” — @stevenackley Click To Tweet
In the face of frustrations that young adults seem absent from our churches, it is worthwhile to consider how we are developing and placing them in service and leadership roles. We must then be purposeful in training them for faithful service. This will allow us to more effectively reach, develop, and deploy young adults for the mission of God and the growth of the local church.
For permission to republish this article, please email Marissa Postell Sullivan.
Steven is the pastor of discipleship at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Adapted from College and Young Adult Ministry training on Ministry Grid. Check out more training videos on Ministry Grid here.
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