Date of Award
Doctor of Ministry (DMin)
A generation of young people are losing their connection to the church today. Research by the Barna Group shows that "61 % of students who were active in church during their teenage years disengaged during their twenties."1 Many churches struggle to adequately connect with and retain the twenty-something generation. This inability to connect stems from changing culture, technology, new worldviews, and a lack of formal training in institutes of higher education. Raised with the Internet, instant messaging, cell phones, and hundreds of television channels, this generation is undoubtedly well informed. Yet many churches no longer speak their language. I believe that churches need to radically change their ministry to attract and retain young people in their twenties. I believe churches are desperate for tools to reach and hold on to students after they graduate from high school. Many churches see this generation disappearing from the pews and don't know how to stop them. These churches must discover how to create an "identity" for this generation as an integral group within denominational structures and church bodies. New ministries have been established, and entire churches have formed for the purpose of reaching this generation. Many of the new, dynamic churches have grown by pulling twenty-somethings away from other churches, including mainline denominations. The flashiest, biggest, most personality-driven churches hold the greatest draw, and this generation tends to gravitate toward those. Web-based resources such as www.theooze.com, www.ginkworld.net, www.relevantmagazine.com, www.threads.com, and www.leadnow.net provide numerous resources for understanding this generation. Additionally, video series such as NOOMA and video sites like bluefish.tv have filled a gap in reaching twenty-somethings by providing churches with teaching ideas relevant to young people. This disse1iation project will create a Web-based resource for churches attempting to reach the twenty-something generation. The Web site's purpose will be to provide a hub of practical information aimed at overhauling, building, or creating ministries that connect and retain these young people. The site will provide a place to connect with church communities that have succeeded, and also with those who struggling. It will be a place to hear from twenty-year-olds themselves and will include their opinions about the church and what needs to change.
Rood, Lars, "Where are the Twenty-Year-Olds? Tools for the Church to Connect and Retain a Generation" (2008). Western Evangelical Seminary Theses. 475.