Growing Young: Helping Young People Discover and Love Your Church
Like most ministry leaders, you’ve probably heard ominous reports of the demise of faith all around us: The disillusionment of young people, the aging of the church, the rise of the “Nones” … the list goes on. But what if that’s only part of the story? What if there are bright spots breaking through the clouds revealing energized churches brimming with young people? What if there are churches that are actually growing young?
The good news is that those bright spot churches exist. The Fuller Youth Institute team found and studied congregations effectively capturing the imaginations and hearts of young people ages 15-29. Through this landmark investigation of over 250 diverse congregations of all sizes, FYI uncovered six core commitments held in common by the most effective churches. This intensive preconference seminar will plumb the depths of both the findings and the stories of real-life churches that are thriving, including a number of Nazarene examples. You’ll leave with a host of doable ideas and strategies to help your church right now. Don’t just give in to growing old. Come discover new ways to grow young.
Hosted by USA/Canada NYI
Monday, Feb. 11 (1pm-5pm)
Kansas City Convention Center (Room TBD)
Cost $25/person (limited seating)
Brad Griffin is the director of the Fuller Youth Institute. A speaker, blogger, and youth pastor at Mountainside Communion Church of the Nazarene. Brad is the coauthor of several Sticky Faith resources, as well as Can I Ask That? 8 Hard Questions about God and Faith. He speaks nationally at churches, denominational training events, and youth ministry conferences.
Keegan Lenker is the Lead Pastor at Gig Harbor Nazarene Church in Gig Harbor, Washington. He is passionate about generational connections in the church and coaches churches from across the country through the Fuller Youth Institute.
In a time when so much emphasis is being focused on generational differences, “Growing Young” reminds that there are proven and effective ways to engage young people into the life of the church that also revitalizes congregations for missional fruitfulness.
"Growing Young” was perfectly timed for Central Church. Like most we are eager to engage the culture around us and reverse the trend of “graduation from high school and graduation from the church.” Fuller Youth Institute and its outstanding research gave us verifiable data, a supportive community, accountability through our cohort, and inspiration in the two summits we attended. We discovered our strengths and our weaknesses as a congregation and with their help have charted a course for the years ahead that we believe will help us engage young adults effectively. The leadership team of Central Church highly recommends “Growing Young."
I first encountered the Growing Young material at NYI LC 2017 and was impressed with not only the focus and content, but the outstanding delivery of the training. Taking note of the way our District NYI leaders were engaging the training that day, we chose to make the Growing Young material the focus of our annual Youth Worker Day at PLNU and asked Brad Griffin to be our main speaker. It was incredible and Brad was amazing! The material resonated deeply with the pastors, youth leaders, and volunteers gathered at the event and they left feeling more equipped to engage their young people in leadership of the church. The experience was so positive, we were asked to host another training in Spanish, which is set for this September! This training is not only valuable for youth pastors/workers but for anyone involved in church leadership, especially senior pastors. Make this a priority and you will not be disappointed!
If you ever wondered how to keep young adults involved in your church that doesn’t require you to dye your hair, get a tattoo or wear tight jeans—then Growing Young is a good start. I always prefer investing my time in something that has immediate, practical application and begins with my context in mind. Growing Young strategies are doing just that and helping us bridge the gap between the generations of our church. The GY cohort enabled us to create an initial plan to listen to what young adults are experiencing which reminded us of their passion for Jesus. As a result, we are bringing young people to the leadership table as they begin working alongside other adults being mentored as ministry team members. Growing Young is strengthening our mission to engage young people as leaders in our church and it is helping us shape our worship, our serving and our relationships.
GROWING YOUNG is a timely, well-researched, and substantive work that pastors who care about reaching the next generation should read and share with their leadership teams. I felt so strongly about this book that I secured permission from my superiors to share it with our Board of Trustees, and Foundation Board last fall in anticipation of a collaborative effort with the Northwest NYI Field Council to schedule three strategic seminar events highlighting the core concepts with pastors, youth pastors, and lay youth leaders. This fall we will be in Denver, CO, Portland, OR, and Boise, ID to begin this critical conversation with leaders across denominational lines. I encourage your prayerful investment of time with GROWING YOUNG and any opportunities to attend a workshop at M-19. Be part of a growing movement of renewal and transformation!