Growing Young is the culmination of four years researching 250+ churches of varying size, ethnic makeup, location, and denominations.
I haven’t had a chance yet to get my hands on the book, but was tipped off to their research when a pastor friend of mine pointed me to the latest Fuller Magazine issue focused on Youth. One of the featured articles was written by the authors of the book and described some of the basics of their research. Read the full article here.
What they found was really encouraging, and confirmed what I think many have been sensing and feeling when it comes to engaging Millennials (although the 15-29 group really blends Gen Y and Gen Z now).
What "Growing Young" churches aren’t:
Their short list:
- Whether a church was small or big didn’t correlate to engagement
- Whether a church was historic, established, or brand new, it didn’t matter
- The denomination of the church didn’t have an impact
- A “contemporary” service, and/or the quality of it, didn’t correlate to engagement
- Whether a church had modern facilities, or met in a school, didn’t really matter
What "Growing Young" churches are:
The other short list:
- Places where discipleship and spiritual growth is paired with community service, justice, social impact. - “How are we good neighbors?”
- Open to dialogue, doubt, and asking questions
- Generous in the face of differing opinions and a skeptical culture
Here's the good news
I’ve felt for a while that Millennials and the generation after us present churches and leaders with good news. As the church, we should be able to relax when it comes to the narrative that we’ve been told for a while, that we need the “stuff,” the aesthetics and optics and “feel” of a Sunday morning experience to get the next generation interested. In reality, we can invest in what we’ve always been good at - community, relationship, Monday-Saturday incarnational living, discipleship, spiritual formation.
According to the Fuller Youth Institute Facebook page, their book launch yesterday went so well they are sold out on Amazon! But Growing Young can still be purchased on Barnes and Noble.
They also just launched a new page where you can listen to church leaders across denominations in the U.S. talk about why they’re excited about the next generation and why they’re invested in engaging them.
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