What Young People Need: A Church that will Listen to them

This is part two of a five part series.

Young people need a church that will listen to them.

Young people are living in a post christian reality. Colleges, high schools, and work places dominated by millennials aren’t driven by a christian ethic. Secularism, nationalism, and the whole “you do you, I’ll do me” mentality is seemingly winning the day—especially in Orange County (my context).

And…these ‘post christian young people’ are living under the roofs of parents who didn’t grow up nor think the same way as them, they’re attending churches that don’t think like them, and they’re populating our world.

I recently read a study by Barna Group published in 2014, that brought much of the struggle churches face in reaching young people. 2 out of 10 Americans under 30 actually see church as beneficial and worthwhile and 59% of American’s raised in the church have dropped out.

This is staggering!

Where the study is five years old, as a high school Pastor, I can attest that these statistics are on the rise and are true. I recently sat down with a 26 year old para-church worker. She loves the church, she loves to serve, and she loves the Lord… her struggle? She can’t find community anywhere.

What she, and many other people need isn’t just community. But they need a community that will listen to them. They need a community that won’t back down from their crazy ideas. They need a community that won’t belittle their thoughts about the world or how they think. Churches, I believe, that will thrive aren’t the ones that ask people to conform to their way of thinking, instead will conform to young people, accept them, listen to them, and run besides them, not against them.

My son, who is seven, often times struggles to listen. Sometimes he acts like he listens, then really isn’t at all. He’s figured it out! He’s figured out how to play the game without actually listening. Something I have been saying to him is “son, I want you to listen not only with your ears, but with your actions”. Churches have this same problem. They “listen” but aren’t really listening. A question churches must ask is, “am I really listening?”

What does it look like for your church to actually listen to young people?

Til’ Next time
-Alex