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Reading The Slow Fade by Reggie Joiner, Chuck Bomar, and Abbie Smith right now and it is helping me process what it looks like to reach people as they move into their twenty’s. I am not surprised that college students and young adults walk away from church. Are you? Have you been to many churches in your town? Most churches are wired to preserve the institution and traditions of a past generation. There are simply not enough churches passionate about serving this group of people…oops…let me change that statement, there are not many churches out there willing to do what it takes to serve this age group. What stirred in my heart in the first chapter was the idea that maybe God is going to call out a group of people to move around the institutional church (not wait on permission is what I am saying) and begin to invest in college students, young professionals, people starting out on this journey of adulthood. Listen to this quote by Reggie Joiner…

The church will struggles to implement a more strategic ministry for this age group. But as Christian adults, you and I don’t have to wait for the church to figure this out and have a better plan. You can start today to influence a college-aged person. The best way to stop the slow fade in the next generation is to stop it in one person’s life.

What a great reminder! It comes back to being willing to continue this journey with college aged folks through this time of massive transition in their life. To not make the finish line high school graduation. To find ways to engage twentysomethings as a local church. Stoping the slow fade is a life by life process and a passion the church must embrace. Reading the that quote in the first chapter of the book reminded me there are things we are and can do right now to reach this age group.

  • Plan your environments with college aged people in mind. // if you want to reach this age group you better remember to plan for them to be in the room on Sunday mornings. At GCC we intentionally plan elements that will target college students. Sure it might be risky but college students are just as important to the church body as the 55 year old professional.
  • Support intentional ministry. // Brandon Reed launched an intentional college ministry to reach students on the campus of Austin Peay State University. You would be amazed at the kids on college campuses looking for someone who cares for them. Show up…do intentional ministry!
  • Gather and support adults who will mentor twentysomethings // what college student need are adults who will mentor…care…support…model what faith looks like beyond high school. With all the change that happens when teens hit “the real world” what they need are adults who will still be there when everything else is chaos.

If you are a parent, youth pastor, senior pastor, or volunteer you need to click on the logo above and order a copy of this book. 3 chapters in and my head is spinning! We can stop the slow fade but we have to be willing to think beyond attendance and toward relationships.