Last year, the elders and I did a study on a book called “Growing Young” which may sound fantastic, right? They have finally found the answers to the fountain of youth! But it’s not quite like that. In order for churches to continue into the next 100 years, we have to “grow young” in other words, we have to have young people in our congregations.
I was talking with a minister this week and he said churches in our region are “old, small and dying. 80% anyway are that.” And you know what? He’s right. When you look around the people in our church on Sunday, you see the gray hairs (I may even have a few at this point), but there is also life here.
There is desire and passion and hope for the future here.
It may seem like a struggle some days, but if we want this congregation to survive and breathe Christian love into Cheyenne into the next century then we have to grow young. There are six pieces to growing young, and none of these happen in any particular order. I want to talk about one of those ways, the one that is ESSENTIAL to surviving and growing young, and that one is prioritizing young people [and families] everywhere.
If we don’t prioritize young people, this church will die. If there are no young people, there will be no one left when we’re gone. This is not a step we can miss in any vision, mission, or planning or service that we talk about. This is the hinge point. This is the make-it or break-it point.
And you know what? When we do this, the WHOLE church benefits from it. How are we doing at this right now? How are we prioritizing and accommodating to young people and families. Remember this: Jesus eagerly welcomed young people to come close to him, at the expense of adults who thought they had the upper hand in access to Jesus, his ideas, and his power.
We’re not an exception. Young people, young families, teenagers, children, young adults—they need Jesus more than we do, and they need us more than they know. So let’s be there for them.