10 “R’s” of Churches Reaching Young Adults Today

All 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 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 holy living and intentional influence in culture. 
  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. Radical. 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 Thompson says:

    I would add Reason. A reason to belong and a reason to participate.

  • Rex Alan Gibson says:

    So very True!!! As a member of the “older” generation of Baptists we should apologize to this generation for holding on to our traditions over reaching people. While truth and the Word should never be compromised, our methods have to change to reach each generation. I personally have had younger family members leave our faith in search of these principals!

  • Robin G Jordan says:

    Reliable. A church they can turn to when they need help, support, guidance and encouragement. A church that is not all talk and no walk.

    Reasonable. A church that listens to young people; a church that appreciates their views and implements their ideas.

  • Robin G Jordan says:

    Recognition–a church that recognizes that they are not the future of the church. They are the church of today.

  • charles kile says:

    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.

    Yes but they need to protected and have a peer group conversations about not proper relationships with older men and women and the church needs to help them navigate those relationships. I have had single women in their forties and fifties tell me their best friends are 20something men. I know of twentysomethings females that have been asked for dates by men old enough to be their father or grandfather in a church setting, older men will tell me they just love younger women.

    I had several students in the seminary I tended who were associate pastors and could not keep any 20something or 30something single women in their churches. My suggestion is invite one of your wife female friends who is attractive, give them a pocket notebook and a pen. Then leave her alone. Then if someone tries to ask her out on a date, she tells them she wants to a computer search before going out. I need your name, address, email address and telephone number. It is amazing to have a telephone call to another male about proper relationships in the church.

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