Young Adults at Crossroads

Young Adults at Crossroads

Back Pages article

by Lindsey Burch



According to the denominational statistics from the Presbytarian Church, as many as 75 to 85 percent of people between the ages of 16 and 24 choose to leave church behind. This is the case among many of the mainline denominations in the United States. An ideological shift seems to be occurring among the young adult population, many of whom no longer see organized religion as an appealing way to access their spirituality.

The presence of young adults in a congregation is an important part of the vitality and longevity of a church. Jack Price, pastor of Crossroads Church in Kansas City, MO, believes that there is an energy that comes from young people, and that multiple generations are important because they bring a variety of perspectives and ideas. “There is also a sense of hope that young adults give to the congregation,” says Price. In addition, young adults and older adults can all benefit from mentoring relationships and a strong inter-generational community that is built within the church.

Given the importance of, and the benefits gained from, young adult participation in churches, why has there been a steady decline over the past few decades in the involvement of young adults within the mainline Christian denominations? Peter Luckey, pastor at Plymouth Congregational Church in Lawrence, KS, partially attributes this decline to a post-modern shift in ideals. Luckey states that, “After the 60s and 70s, people saw political institutions, and all institutions, as suspect. Young adults are very well-educated and believe that there are many ways to access truth, outside of religion.” With so many options and opportunities available from which to access information, young adults may be less likely to go to the pulpit for guidance.

Another opinion, given by Pastor Thad Holcombe of the Ecumenical Christian Ministries at the University of Kansas, points to an opening for churches to make a difference with young adults. Holcombe attributes the decline to, “the church not nurturing an environment where big, important questions can be asked by young adults.” Many young adults feel a deep desire to question and search for meaning in the world. When churches find ways to communicate that and to leave room for questioning, young adults often feel more inspired to participate. At Crossroads Church, the importance of open-ended questioning of Christianity has been exhibited within the newly formed young adult group. With the formation of “Tuesday Topics: A Faith Forum on Christianity,” the young adults have been able to explore modern topics like goddess theology and science and religion, as well as century-old topics such as, the identity of God and the presence of miracles in the world. Jonathan, a member of the Crossroads young adult group believes that Tuesday Topics is providing the opportunity for people to discuss and make their own decisions about spiritual issues. “Many people think that our generation is looking for something big and flashy,” says Jonathan, “but most of us are just looking to talk openly about important things. We’re looking for something with integrity.” The importance of groups like Tuesday Topics, can be seen through the steady growth of the Crossroads young adult group. In the past month, Tuesday Topics has more than doubled in its participation.

Luckey also believes that churches need to create opportunities where young adults can be involved in some aspect, whether it be community service, worship, or mission trips. Crossroads has provided the opportunity for young adults to participate in many ways. With opportunities for involvement in musicals, peace and justice work, service in the local neighborhood, and various social events, Crossroads has seen the young adults presence on Sunday mornings quadruple over the past three months.

As churches consider the longevity and vitality of their congregations, it is important to look at the contribution that “twenty somethings” can have on a church. Jack Price has sensed the excitement building in Crossroads Church through the growth of the young adult group. “Every congregation needs renewed leadership and an infusion of new energy and ideas,” says Price. “This is an exiting time to be a member of Crossroads Church. The young adult group reflects a growing spirit of enthusiasm and commitment throughout the congregation.”

Kansas City Church

Crossroads Church - 7917 Main Street - Kansas City, Missouri 64114

Join Us Sunday

Sunday School
Children and Adults - 9:15am

Worship Service - 10:30am

7917 Main
Kansas City, MO 64114

Find us on Facebook

Link to our Contact
Link to our Facebook Page
Link to our Rss Page