Tamara Wolcott Fisher
Tamara Wolcott Fisher
Mobilize, a training to help churches attract, engage, and mobilize young adults for the Kingdom, took place Sabbath, January 26, 2019, at the Georgia-Cumberland Conference office. About 40 people came to learn more about being intentional to engage young adults.
Don Keele Jr., director of young adult and ACF ministries, says, “When we look at the data on young adults, we find that one of the largest points of exodus from the church corresponds with graduation from college. Somehow we haven’t been good at helping young adults transition across from collegiate life to life as a young adult member in the Church. Not content with this finding, we have set out to do something about it. So, we have developed a yearly training we call Mobilize to help teach any who care in the Church, how to reach out and engage young adults for the sake of the Kingdom.”
Nate Elias, pastor of the Peachtree City Church in Atlanta, Ga., and presenter, said, “Young Adults (YAs) aren’t nearly as difficult to attract as it may appear. Open to learning about spiritual matters, YAs thrive in exploring spirituality even with Church members. When we share we care, including meaningful equipping, empowering, and mentoring, YAs will recognize we care. YAs want to make their communities a better place, and this includes the Church.”
Elias shared three easy tips for attracting young adults:
- Invite YAs into your ministry service (mentor).
- By the third Sabbath, invite young adults into ministry involvement (participation).
- Listen to know young adults’ passions for service and empower them in service (empower).
Courtney Mills, young adult and member of the North River Church in Chattanooga, Tenn., said her pastor asked her to attend the training because she was recently named the new youth and young adult leader. She said it was “important to come with an open mind, and there is a lot to gain from the training.” She says it is a major issue for the Church, and it is important to take initiative.
Another presenter, Justin Yang, pastor of Atlanta Korean Church, shared that he was recently at a gas station wearing a jacket with young adult ministries embroidered on the front. The cashier asked Yang what this meant, and it was exciting for him to share that his church wants all young adults to come to church and be part of the family. Then Yang went back to his car and wept, for fear that if these young adults attended an Adventist church they might not be welcomed. “So many today are seeking family, something that is lacking, and our churches could easily fill that,” says Yang.
Yang did a social experiment where he dyed his hair purple, wore tattoo sleeves and ripped jeans, and went to different churches. “As I was walking up and opened the door, a lady asked, ‘What are you doing here?’” Yang was only welcome at six out of 36 Adventist churches over a 12-week period. He says we must cultivate a warm welcome, and create a church family where everyone is welcome.
Tanya Leon-Thomas, a member of the Fayette, Ga., Church, believes that there is an age segment missing from the Church, those who are 23-35. “We got a lot of food for thought today. This focus on young adults is desperately needed. Glad we are taking this on as a Conference,” says Leon- Thomas.
Georgia-Cumberland | March 2019