Thinking Out Loud

December 15, 2016

Young Single Adults Looking for a Context to Meet Other YSAs.

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 8:04 am

Three people came to my attention in the space of about 72 hours.

  • A young Christian girl from Canada spending a year in Australia
  • A young Christian girl from Australia spending a year in Canada
  • A young Christian guy in Canada returning post-graduation to his college city

They all have one thing in common; they’d like to connect with other people their age socially but find it tough finding the right context in which to do so.

Yes, I know the obvious: Weekend church services, midweek college and career church groups, doing volunteer work, or hanging out in the Lauren Daigle section of the Christian bookstore. But it’s easy to feel like a stranger in a strange land. It’s a matter of connecting with the right church, the right young adults group, the right volunteer project, etc.

bn234118Some are looking for “the one.” Others just want to connect with a Christian community. Either way, it’s like, “I know you’re out there, and I’d like to meet you, but I can’t find you.”

You wouldn’t want to try this in my town. Located about an hour east of Toronto, our little part of the world is a place where people stay until the end of high school and then they go off to college and never want to return, except for family gatherings. Our population of twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings is rather anemic. So moving to a busier, urban center is a given. But even there it can be bewildering.

It’s no wonder people turn to online sites to make a connection. A couple generations back, putting an advertisement in the personal section of the classified adverts was seen as an act of desperation. Now, posting a profile online is the norm. Further, it must be said, some great relationships have been forged in the transfer of those pixels, but it often involves a greater investment in travel, unless you set your geographic limit as ten miles or less.

So I know there are a few in that age bracket who read this blog. Or maybe you’re the parent of one such young adult. How can someone make a connection in 2017 with someone who shares their Christian values? What other not-online contexts exist for finding a Christian community of people in the same demographic?

















1 Comment »

  1. I think you’re right, Paul, it is difficult. I’m 29, but I’m not a typical case since I’m a pastor. We don’t have a young adult offering b/c we couldn’t get enough people interested in the past, despite being situated in an area with lots of them around us. I’ve looked around at a lot of different churches to see what they’re doing and no one is really knocking it out of the park in this area from what I can tell.

    I was actually thinking about this the other day. It seems like parachurch and missions organizations are probably where most of them are gathering, and where it’s easiest to do so. The primary cause, as I see it, is that these organizations have their missions up front and you can be a part of it. It’s not simply a social justice thing though, because many young people have a hunger for the clear and raw teachings of Jesus. I think it has to do more with a chance to be a part of actually pushing back the darkness. My generation (and those younger) read the teachings of Jesus and see what he calls us to, then go to church and find out that we can sit in a circle at someone’s house once a week or hold a door on the weekends. That’s not to denigrate those things. I see the value; I’m the Pastor of Community at my church, after all. But it is to say that if that’s all you have to “make a difference” in the world then you’re not going to see a lot of young people beyond your weekend services.

    This may sound curmudgeonly (perhaps I can get away with it because of my age), but there is also a very low level of commitment among my demographic from what I observe. That’s not to slam them, it’s just a cultural marker. They’re less likely to commit to a weeknight or weekend morning gathering, even if it’s something they’ve requested to be a part of in the past. Some of that is probably a function of what I mentioned above, but it’s also part of the reason they’re hard to gather.

    The last thing I’ll say is that from what I’ve observed in the church, it is those churches that focus more on mission and less on programs that tend to have more 20-something’s involved. They’re not trying to start up a young professionals group b/c their whole church is one. They’re also where they are – urban centers. Look at people like Bridgetown Church and Bread & Wine in Portland, or Redeemer in New York City. These churches are largely made up of the millennial demographic, and it seems to be due in part to their emphasis on living missionally in their workplaces, neighborhoods, etc. They’ve decided to teach people how to live out the teachings of Jesus in their everyday lives, and that resonates with my peers.

    Take care,

    Grayson Pope

    Comment by Grayson Pope — December 15, 2016 @ 9:38 am

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