Friday, June 16th, 2017


I didn’t know when I wrote I PRAY ANYWAY that I was tapping into a growing trend and expressing that trend in my daily reflections. That trend is people being disappointed if not disgusted with much of organized religion for its hypocrisy of not walking the talk. And with instant exposure to other religions, young adults find all theologies too narrow to fit with with their life experience and with new understanding of the history of religions and how they came to be. It’s not that the theology needs to be diluted so much as opened up.

There are many books and studies coming out about the “nones”–the non-affiliated to any religion. There are many concerns in formal religions about the lack of passing on belief and commitment on to the next generation.
Ed Stetzer in his book LOST AND FOUND consolidates, from many sources, what it is that young adults want.
I’ve put them into my own words.

—Deeper Community
Young adults want lasting connections and small groups seem to work best in creating a sense of belonging.

—Making a Difference
Young adults want to be of service to something bigger than themselves and to be seen as competent and able to use their talent

—A Conversational Style
Real talk, not stylized preaching about important content is what works. The style of the communicator needs to be ‘real’ and not put on or out of sync with who the person is. No phoniness

—Use of Technology
Young adults want to see technology to support the work of the church that is familiar to them and feels like their world whether that is reading scripture from an iPad or keeping in touch through Facebook.

—Cross-Generational Relationships
Young adults appreciate interaction with older people to challenge them and to share their wisdom. Effort and structure is needed to support this type of interaction, whether mentoring, or coaching or other kinds of support.

—Authentic, transparent Leadership is what young adults look for. With so much compromised leadership in the world, young adults want leaders who are honest and open and share their own continuiing learning in spiritual growth. They want to see leaders who make mistakes and own them and show how human and vulnerable they are.

—Leading by team
A participation culture is what works rather than a command and control kind of leader. Young adults want to be actively involved in running the place where they worship

—Experience of Worship
This is a fundamental desire that makes or breaks attracting young adults to formal religion even when the  other aspects makes are present. Young adults want vertical worship (a kind of trendy description). Vertical worship reaches up to the adoration of God–the sole purpose of worshhip. It is not about the horizontal concerns of loving one another better or avoiding certain behaviors. They follow the vertical. First worship God fully. Let all else come from that.

As a former Global Executive, these are certainly what most associates want in the workplace today.
Churches, Synagogues and Mosques should all borrow from the best practices in the workplace.
Even the vertical worship translates in to the secular arena of business. People want to work where the ultimate goal is worthy and prominent and rings true and is held as most important.


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