How to start a “Young Professional” group in your church!

 

Starting a Young Professionals Ministry

 

A few resources to help…

“The Essential Church” by Thom Rainer – This book speaks to the reason we are losing the most people from our churches during the ages of 19-22.

“Lost and Found” by Ed Stetzer – This book addresses the same basic topic as “The Essential Church” but adds what to do about it in more detail. It will discuss the 4 areas young adults feel are important to their lives (Community-Depth-Responsibility-Cross-Generational Connection).

“unchristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks about Christianity…and Why It Matters” by David Kinnaman; Gabe Lyons – This book is very revealing. It exposes what the young adults of today really think of Christianity

“The Next Christians: The Good News About the End of Christian America” by Gabe Lyons – This book will go into more detail on how to change the view that young adults have of Christianity so it is the right view. 

“In Real Time” by Mike Glenn – This is the story of the young adult ministry at Brentwood Baptist Church in Franklin, TN. This ministry has over 1200 young adults that meet for worship every Tuesday night. This book is how it came about. Great resource!

 

 

The how to…

The following information is intended to give some guidance and ideas about beginning a ministry to serve, encourage and reach young adults in their 20’s & 30’s for Jesus Christ. It is by no means the only way (it is just what we did) nor is it even a great way. God used it in our community to help us go from no young adult ministry to a ministry with four classes of young adults (2 married & 2 singles classes), a full time staff position in our church that does nothing but lead the young adult ministry and we have over 300. All of this God did in just a few short years.

We hope it will encourage you to “just get something started.” Young adults are hungry for the answers that God will give them. They just need a place to go. Like the movie, “The Field of Dreams”, “If you will build it they will come!” May God bless you as you serve the young adult community.

Here’s what we learned…

Some Basics when working with young adults (20’s and 30’s)

  • Start with a passion for this age group-we must have a desire to learn and understand the 20 and 30 year old generation and be willing to adapt our traditions to reach them without changing our doctrine. This is unlike any group we have ever worked with.
  • This ministry must be specifically designed for young adults (primarily in their 20’s & 30’s but you can go a year or two either side of this, we did) – This should not be a combination of college and young adult or young and older adults. The number of people you have is not as important as them knowing this is specifically focused on them and where they are in their life!
  • Be genuine – This age group wants transparency not hypocrisy. They will respect us if we are brutally honest about ourselves, the Bible and life.
  • Be Biblical – They want real depth of teaching. They will ask the WHY questions and respond if we clearly answer them from the Bible.
  • Create Community – small groups are important. This group wants to be a part of something and know that they are valuable and making a difference, not just a number on a roll. As the group becomes larger, small groups will be necessary to maintain this.
  • Help them build relationships – Meals, activities and open discussion times are important, especially in the small group setting. This will allow them to get to know you and each other and build relationships that will bond them to the ministry as an essential part of their life.
  • Start with what God has already given you – Many churches have 20 and 30 year old adults attending the worship services. They just need a small group to plug into. Create something to invite them to by starting it with the young adults that are already in your church. They will then have something to invite their friends to.
  • Grow this ministry together with the young adults you have. Make this essential to their life – Ask them questions like:
    1. What challenges are you facing in your life right now?
    2. What is important to your life right now?
    3. What can we do to make this ministry more essential and beneficial to your life?
    4. What questions do you have about life that you wish God would answer for you?

 

“Community Groups”

(This is different from your church small group that meets for Bible study during the week. This is an outreach tool)

1. This is an outreach tool you can use to touch other adults that are unchurched or de-churched.

2. It is best if some of the young adults take leadership with this.

3. These groups should meet once a week or twice a month.

4. Basic steps of the “Community Group” program:

Contact – This stage involves young adults inviting a few friends (2 to 4) to have coffee or meet for a time of encouraging each other and supporting each other. This is to build relationships with those you already know.

Some great places to start looking for participants: At work (meet with them before work, after work, during lunch or during break time) – In the neighborhood (friends from your community or that you hang out with, remember, they do not have to be believers since this is an outreach ministry). – At the gym or any extracurricular activity you participate in – (a great place to connect with people you have something in common with). – At Church – (this may seem odd since this is supposed to be an outreach, however, it is a great way to get the young adults in your church together in order to start a young professional ministry in your church if you do not have one).

Cultivate – This stage is when you cultivate the relationships so that the people involved will eventually open their heart. At the end of each session, ask the group if you can pray and if they have anything they want you to include in your prayer for them. Eventually, they will open up about issues in their lives and this will provide the segway to the next step.

Communicate – This is the stage when we start communicating Bible truth through a home Bible study time. Once the members of your group have begun to open up about prayer and issues in their lives, invite them and a friend to come to your house or a local restaurant for dinner and a brief Bible study time or to the small group you are a part of at your church (no need to start something new if you already have something established). A suggested agenda would be 6:30 to 7:30 dinner & 7:30 to 8:30 Bible study and prayer.

Connect – This stage is critical. If you do not have a young adult small group at your church, this is when you can take the group you have formed & start your own young adult ministry or small group at your church. It is critical to get every member connected to the local body of believers. They will need that to grow.

 

Final thoughts & ideas

1. God is the key to everything – we must walk with the Lord personally and allow God to work in our lives so He can work through us to help the lives of young adults.

2. Be real

3. Be patient – God will do His work in His time.

4. One person is important – do not get hung up on numbers and how big your program is. God is interested in changing lives one at a time.

6. Get your young adults involved in serving in other areas of the church. Make them as essential to the church as the church is to them!

 

God bless you as you serve the young adult community where you live.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR YOUNG ADULT MINISTRY:

Please tell us about your young adult ministry. Young adults are asking all the time if we know of young adult ministries in their area that they can connect with. We want them to know about yours. Click the following link and send us your groups info so we can post it on our web site.

Click here to tell us about your Young Adult Group