10 “R’s” of Churches Reaching Young Adults

All of our churches need young people, not only because they bring life and energy to the congregation, but also because they will be the future of the church. Here are ten “R’s” that churches reaching young adults are offering to this generation:

  1. Relationships. This group wants to hang out with older people who love them. They love life-on-life small groups and one-to-one mentoring relationships.
  2. Relevance. Young adults want to know how to live as a Christian in a chaotic world. These churches address that issue through clear application of their preaching and teaching.
  3. Rigor. Young adults are not opposed to being challenged. They like the rigor of discipline and study, especially if someone walks with them along the way. They shy away from watered down approaches to the gospel.
  4. Realness. They want authenticity. They’ve seen enough fake that they’re attracted to genuine Christians who model real faith, and these churches provide it.  
  5. Righteousness. They not only desire godly examples, but they also want to live out righteousness through social justice ministries and healthy cultural confrontation.
  6. Remembrance. This generation desires serious commitment, often symbolized in regular and deeply-felt observance of the Lord’s Supper. They even like ritual if the ritual has biblical warrant and helps them live faithfully.
  7. Reconciliation. Seldom have I seen a generation so interested in racial reconciliation. Many of today’s young adults long for a church that is intentionally multi-cultural.
  8. Responsibility. They don’t want to wait forever to serve in the church. They’re a hands-on, “do it now” generation. 
  9. Radicals. Challenge this group to go to the nations or move to an impoverished area downtown, and they’ll go. They’re unafraid to live differently than their parents and grandparents have.
  10. Revelation. This generation wants to hear the Bible preached. In fact, they have little tolerance for anything else.  

What would you add to this list (even if it doesn’t begin with an “r” . . .)? 


  • Rick Jenkins says:

    Community. It goes beyond relationships in that you identify with a group. Committed followers of Jesus have those relationships that ultimately result in community. They want to be Disciples standing out with a distinction and not just cultural Christians.

  • C. A. says:

    Great and compact list! I would note rather than “young people will be the future of the church” – they are the church now.

  • Michael Bartlett says:

    This sums up DISCIPLESHIP! They are the generation that gets it best and will need it the most as the church may go underground. This approach you listed was my approach as youth pastor. Now 5 are headed toward ministry and others are serving. Best yet some even began to make other disciples. PRAISE GOD!

  • Reality: They need to see Christ as a real person. Right now, some of the young people go to church and church functions because they are under 18 and have to go in obedience to their parents. They are looking at YOU to see if Christ is real to you or do you go out of habit.I believe they can see through you if Christ is real or you are wearing a façade.

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