The Real Reasons Why Churches Can’t Connect With Teens
in Communication / 20 Jun 2016
Why is there a disconnect between churches and teenagers today? Is our church not reaching out to the youngsters? Or, are teenagers just too rebellious nowadays?
Pastor, have you ever asked yourself any of these questions? If you have, this blog post can offer you some answers.
It is important to understand that the issue at hand is more generational than spiritual. The world around us is changing at lightning speed, and so are the behaviours, expectations and demands of the current generation.
How does the church react to this rapidly evolving generation? Certainly not by pointing a finger at it! The answer lies in accepting this change rather than rejecting it. Here are a few ways your church can actually reach out to, understand and interact with today’s youth:
SPEAK THEIR LANGUAGE
There are many churches that believe in carrying on with their methods from yesteryear. While there was nothing wrong with the way churches functioned in the past, many of their methods are no longer relevant and tend to alienate the youth. Today, it is essential for the church to communicate in a manner that the new generation understands.
“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.
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 current generation to connect with it. You need to reach out to these youngsters by joining their conversation.
At the same time, remember to talk to teenagers in an authentic manner. They don’t need you to pretend to be ‘cool’. Instead, they need to know that you genuinely want to establish a relationship with them.
SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE
Churches often criticise the current generation for being too rebellious. Well, the simple truth is that a teenager’s life is not the same as it used to be. The world is moving at a face pace, leaving us with two choices: either get with the times or get left behind. And, our teenagers have no intention of being left behind.
Did you know that 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. Moreover, stay away from condemning teenagers and their habits. Instead, 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. So, 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.
MEET THEM WHERE THEY MEET THE MOST – ONLINE!
For any relationship to thrive, one needs to be in touch regularly. Likewise, your church can only cement its relationship with teenagers and young adults if it constantly interacts with them.
The Internet allows you to interact with your audience 24/7, whether it is through blog posts, websites or social media. In fact, social media is a good place for your church to start the conversation with youngsters.
Social media is the one platform that allows you to interact with people in the most creative ways. You can post videos, share images, write notes and live stream events. It’s no wonder that social media is the most popular hangout for the youth today. Here are five creative ways your church can use social media to engage with today’s youngsters.
In addition, your church can reach out to the youth through its blog. Think of the needs and problems that the youth is grappling with and create content that would address those issues. Remember that a blog will help you establish a personal relationship with your readers – something that you cannot do from a pulpit. So, encourage your young readers to post their questions and concerns as comments, and make sure that you respond to each comment promptly.
Today’s teenagers are tomorrow’s leaders! So, don’t miss out on the opportunity to connect with them and ultimately 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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