Breathing life into the whole church
Review: Growing Young
All churches are growing old but strategic churches are growing young.
This is the opening line of the growing young website at churchesgrowingyoung.com. Here you can find a wealth of wisdom from research conducted through Fuller Youth Institute.
Churches are both shrinking and aging as more young people disengage. Based on ground breaking research Growing Young identifies six key strategies that have been isolated to help churches grow young.
It profiles innovative churches engaging 15-29 year olds that are growing–spiritually, emotionally, missionally, and numerically.
These are concepts that any church who want young people to be part of their community can benefit from.
The first strategy is keychain leadership, sharing power and handing over power at the right time in the right way. The second is learning and empathising with young people. The third is the importance of keeping Jesus life and message key in teaching and practice. The fourth explains the importance of having a warm community that cares and welcomes all people. The fifth is to prioritise young people everywhere, in all you do: leadership, worship, discipleship and pastoral care. Finally, as a church, be the best neighbours and give the young people the chance to be the best neighbours too.
Whilst the book and research targets young people, the concepts work well if you want to reach children and families or people from different cultures.
The book is easy to read and could be studied a chapter a month by church councils or leadership teams. Even if you are doing well with young people, it is a great resource to audit your church and see where you could be doing better.
The Pulse team and Camden Theological Library have a number of copies of the book and the website has great resources for congregations. Packed with ideas, Growing Young shows ministry leaders how to position their churches to reach younger generations in a way that breathes life into the whole church.
It’s well worth a look.
Karen Mitchell Lambert, Pulse Team Leader