Whilst unloading the dishwasher at 7:20am on the 17th January 2012 I had an epiphany.
It was a moment of clarity after many years of musing. In fact it has been two separate musings/prayers. The first has been around why 18-30 Christians are struggling to stay connected to church. The second musing/prayer has been a conviction that continues to grow steadily and that is that this generation of young adults need to pioneer the church forward. For whatever reason that day the two thoughts overlapped and there have been consequences.
To reach and keep 18-30s we need to release them to pioneer the church.
Over the last few years many clever and gifted people have been trying to understand the problem for why many Christians in the 18-30 age range are disconnected from local church. The problem has led to all sorts of forums, debates and articles. The insights gained and the reasons given seem wide and varied. So wide and so varied that the problem is very difficult to pin down and now appears even bigger. Is it possible there is a solution that doesn’t require a full grasp of the problem? I believe that is the place where we find ourselves and the Church needs to shift her attention to implementing solutions rather than focussing on the problems.
This has led me into to two distinct areas of action.
The first is the church in Loughborough I have been involved in leading for the last 17 years has two Sunday expressions. An all age one and an 18-30 one. Over the past 8 months as a leadership team we have weighed and then acted on this prophetic word (to release this generation to pioneer to the church). Last week we commissioned and released two 24 year olds to pioneer the 18-30s gathering forward. It felt good.
The second has been around creating pathways for 18-25s to grow in leadership. This has led to an ambitious student learning community being formed and involving 40 churches. In partnership with 3DMUK we are inviting churches on a 2 year process to raise the bar for student mission. My conviction is that students who are able to represent their churches through this 2 year process will be in a position to take on greater responsibility and pioneer the church forward. More details for how you can be involved here.
I written more extensively on what it means to release young leaders here.