The 20-Something Question Local Churches Struggle to Build Vibrant Ministries for Young Adults

By Sneller, Beth | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 28, 2004 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

The 20-Something Question Local Churches Struggle to Build Vibrant Ministries for Young Adults


Sneller, Beth, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Beth Sneller Daily Herald Staff Writer

Darrell Cloud has a vision.

The director of young adult ministry at Evangelical Free Church of Naperville sees hundreds of young people, all in their 20s, worshipping and studying the Bible together.

It's a place where seekers would be welcome, and people in that age group would feel comfortable growing in their relationship with God.

That, in his opinion, is what a vibrant young adult ministry in a Christian church should be.

But it's easier said than done.

In the suburbs, especially, church leaders say it's difficult to keep momentum with such programs. Whether they're for singles or married couples, groups aimed at that age group often fizzle.

Part of it, leaders say, is a differing view of what that group should be like.

"A lot of young adults want it to be like youth group, except older," Cloud said.

The 20-somethings, he said, remember their high school years at church, when they socialized with other teenagers at water parks and bowling alleys. They would attend the occasional Bible study, but the real draw was all the things they could do to make friends.

Now that they're older, these young people need to find opportunities to grow in their faith and become mature Christian adults, Cloud says.

And the church wants to provide those opportunities.

"We want to help them catch the vision for how they can minister to each other and to the community," he said.

Matchmaking

One challenge leaders face is how to address the dating scene.

For young single adults, it makes sense to seek connections through church.

"Personally, I'd love to find somebody in my church group," said Jessica Bontrager, 25, of Westmont, a member of Evangelical Free Church of Naperville. "Meeting someone at a bar just doesn't seem possible."

Cloud says he accepts the inevitability of love connections forming at church.

"There's a lot of stigma around 'singles ministry,' " he said. "A lot of people try to resist (dating) in singles ministry, but that's like trying to stop a tidal wave. It's going to happen.

"If you can help someone find a good mate, God bless you."

Yet others, like Sara Gmitro at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church in Naperville, prefer to shy away from what they call a "matchmaking service."

"We get phone calls periodically from people interested in joining a group," said Gmitro, who is the Our Saviour's director of lay ministries. "I think the biggest challenge is, do people want some sort of growth opportunity, or are they just looking for a singles group?"

Gmitro said her first priority is to help young adults grow in their faith. If they meet someone with whom they're compatible in the process, that's great.

False starts

No matter what their philosophy, church leaders still want to answer the question: How do you sustain an active young adult program?

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

The 20-Something Question Local Churches Struggle to Build Vibrant Ministries for Young Adults
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?