Is Your Church Connecting with Teens the Right Way?
in Communication / 09 Apr 2018
There is a growing disconnect between churches and teenagers today. With the world changing at a fast pace, the behaviours and expectations of the current generation are also rapidly evolving, and the church is struggling to keep up.
Pastor, if you are experiencing this in your church, understand that the issue is more generational than spiritual. Therefore, rather than rejecting this change, you need to accept it and respond with love. Here are a few ways your church can connect and interact with today’s youth:
COMMUNICATE TO THEM IN THEIR LANGUAGE
The way churches function now is quite different from how they functioned in the past. Many of the methods that were used earlier are no longer relevant and only tend to alienate the youth of today. Therefore, it is important for the church to communicate in a way that the current generation can understand.
“To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.” – 1 Corinthians 9:21-22.
In the above passage, Paul clearly says that he changed his language in order to relate to people in a better way. Likewise, churches need to start speaking the language of the new generation to connect with it. You need to reach out to these youngsters by joining their conversation.
While doing so, remember to talk to teenagers in an authentic manner. These smart kids can make out when you are trying to be ‘cool’. The best way is to be genuine and let them know that you want to establish a relationship with them.
MAKE THEM FEEL LOVED, NOT JUDGED
Teenagers are often criticised by the church for being too rebellious. Unfortunately, such criticisms will only serve to push them away. In fact, 26% of young adults leave the church because they feel judged.
What teenagers need the most today is love, not judgement. Therefore, make your church a home where teens feel welcomed and loved. Instead of condemning them and their habits, see how you can use these habits as a means to help the Kingdom.
For example, Rev. Jim Liberatore decided to leverage his church members’ annoying habit of using social media during church service. He gave his young congregation the liberty to tweet during his sermons. Little did he know that it would turn out to be one of the church’s key outreach tools. Click here to read more of this story.
ENGAGE WITH THEM ONLINE
Regular contact is necessary for any relationship to thrive. Your church needs to constantly interact with teenagers and young adults to build a relationship with them. And what better way than the Internet to do so!
Whether it is through blog posts, websites or social media, the Internet allows you to interact with your audience round the clock. In fact, social media is a good place for your church to start a conversation with youngsters.
Social media allows you to interact with people in the most creative ways. You can post videos, share images, write notes and stream live events. It’s not surprising that social media is the most popular hangout for young people. Check out these five creative ways your church can use social media to engage with today’s youngsters.
Your church blog is also a great way to connect with the youth. Did you know that a blog will help you establish a personal relationship with your readers? This is something that you cannot do from a pulpit. So, maximise your blog by creating content that addresses issues that the youngsters grapple with, and encourage them to post their questions and concerns as comments.
Today’s teenagers are tomorrow’s leaders! So, don’t miss out on the opportunity to reach out to them and raise Christ-like leaders. What other tips do you have to help churches connect better with today’s youth? Please leave a comment and share them with us!
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