Thursday, May 17, 2007

Twenty-Somethings: What does it take?

From my experience leading a discipleship group of "twenty-something" men, I have found at the core, they are really no different than any other person of any other generation. They have a proclivity to selfishness and immediate gratification of the senses. Look at the popular movies, television, video games, and music to see just what it takes to get, and keep, the attention of a young man. It takes increasingly more realism and shock. No more innuendoes and very little imagination. In a sense, it takes more fantasy because reality is so boring and fake.

So, sitting in a church service and singing some songs just isn’t going to do it anymore - even when the songs are the right style and volume. Lowering the lights and lighting candles isn’t the answer either.

With all of that said, twenty-somethings also have a strong desire for truth. However, just talking doesn’t impress the twenty-something. The twenty-something wants more than just talk and religious sounding ideals. They want to see that you walk the walk. Talk is very cheap to the Twenty-something. Why, because they feel they have seen and heard it all.

What does the twenty-something want to see? What will attract them? What will arouse their spiritual senses? I think the following four things are a good start.

1. Walk the walk – don’t just talk the talk. Talk is cheap. Do not be a hypocrite. If you say it, you need to live it and it needs to be very evident.
2. Change – they want to see the real change that Christ has made in your life. Allow God to truly transform you and you will get their attention. They want to know that Christ has really made a difference in your life in a real way. Has he delivered you from lust, pornography, drugs, alcohol, or depression? It doesn’t have to be this dramatic, but it does need to be tangible (real).
3. Power – They want to see the healthy and real power of God at work. The world is full of fake remedies, promises, and saviors. They want to see the real transforming and incomparable great power of Christ at work.
4. Love – without love all of these other important characteristics are worthless. There must be genuine care for the individual, personal touch, and a walking alongside. Essentially, true discipleship – Jesus style.

Here are some similar thoughts from Barna Group:
"It is important for churches to understand the natural skepticism of Busters (twenty-somethings) as well as their desire for spiritual and conversational depth. Young adults do not want to hear on-the-stage monologues about moral regulations. To earn access to their hearts and minds, you have to understand each person’s unique background, identity, and doubts, and must tangibly model a biblical lifestyle for them beyond the walls of the church." David Kinnaman, Barna Group


Anita Hensley said...

you know one wants to hear "on stage monologues about morality." we all want to have athentic Christiantity whether we are 20 something or fortysomething.
what we don't need is Habitat for Humanity/Aid to Africa/etc. without Christ. that changes nothing- it merely delays hell for a few years.
we cannot love enough, give enough, help enough, of our own strength to truly change anything. the only 'relevant' thing we have to offer IS Christ, and my life as i follow Him.

BMorgan said...

I'm 31yrs old and still a "Buster" :)

Can we knock what Bono is doing?

Eric Jones said...

I think Anita correctly answered the lacking found in humanity efforts like that which Bono is doing when she said "what we don't need is Habitat for Humanity/Aid to Africa/etc. without Christ. that changes nothing- it merely delays hell for a few years". That doesn't mean that what Bono is doing is wrong. It is a good thing. It only means that it is missing the most important aid - spiritual aid (Christ)!

BMorgan said...

In partnering with other Christian musicians/churches Bono sure is bringing spiritual aid to Africa.

Anita Hensley said...

do you mean like the Coexist campaign that he is endorsing?
Coexist is bringing 'spiritual' aid. the question is: what spirit?
"Can't we all just get along?" will not be found to be a biblical model on the Day the Lord returns.

BMorgan said...

Anita, as we talked in church today, the "Coexist thing" seems to be a movement to get alot of people on board from different religions (instead of fighting with each other) to give to the cause. Remember, Bono is from Ireland where there were wars between the Protestants and Catholics. I'm sure his upbringing and what he has experienced is influencing his message. But is the "Coexist message" a Christian message??? As Christians we do need to be tolerant. And we are called to care for the poor, orphans, and widows- and he is a great example of that. And again, he continues to partner with churches/Christian musicians who are bringing the message of Christ to Africa.