In the workshop, I am going to refer to the remarks of Missouri's Bishop Robert Schnase that he has posted on the Missouri Conference website. Here is a bit of what he says.
The average age in our conference is 57, the average age in our society is 33.
Each generation speaks a different language.
A hundred years ago you might have had three generations in church that shared the same preference in worship style, music and entertainment. Now you may have four generations, each with their own distinctive preferences.
In 20 years, we’ve lost 40,000 by simple attrition, but haven’t replaced them. It’s not that everyone just up and left. It’s a front door problem, not a back door problem. The older generations are being asked to do what is so hard: to support music and worship styles that are foreign to them. But we must understand we have to reach these younger generations and there is a limited time to do that.
Do these thoughts ring true for you? I am happy to say that the average age of the new members we recieved here last year is 35. (And that includes one 95 year old woman in the mix!) But the reality to which Bishop Schnase points is alarming, indeed. Speaking in a sweeping, possibly unfair, but nonetheless-containing-a-kernel-of-truth generalization, people in their 20s and 30s talk, look, and think differently than older people. How is the church responding?
So I ask, if you were leading a workshop on "Ministry of Young Adults," what would you say? Or perhaps, if you were attending a workshop on the topic, what would you like to hear?