A trend in the Christian community for the past several decades has been a drop in church attendance as children and youth turn into young adults. In the past, these young adults would return to church once they became older and started having families of their own. A Barna study recently released shows us that the rate of young adults returning to church is declining, and action is needed on behalf of the Christian community to reengage with those who were formerly involved. What role can pro-life ministry play in this?
Caring Network is a pro-life ministry located in the western suburbs of Chicago. Since 1981, we have been assisting women facing unexpected pregnancy, through the support and participation of our local church communities. The fate of Christian churches does not only impact the church or parish itself, but all ministries and individuals that participate in its growth and health. Banding together, we can make an impact on matters of life and ministry.
Young Adults and Church Participation
Over the past several decades young adults have been falling away from church in their late teens/early twenties and beginning to return after starting families of their own. The motivating factor may be to raise their children with the same morals and faith tradition they were raised with. Pastors have relied on this during church planning, expecting those who are entering their thirties to reengage with church ministry. However, more recently, this has not been the case. Young adults transitioning into their thirties and forties are not returning to church at the same rate. What does this mean for the future of our churches, ministry, and faith as a whole?
Church Involvement Impacts Ministry Involvement
Often churches are the backbone of other aspects of ministry. Volunteer opportunities, community engagement, and service projects are all areas that churches regularly participate in. Pro-life ministry is another component. Congregations will take part in pro-life events, fundraisers, and initiatives. If church involvement declines for young adults, we could also begin to see less young adults engaging in para-church ministries.
How Can Young Adults Reengage?
The Barna study calls us to action, stating: “The data is speaking a clear message: the assumptions that undergirded church growth from two decades ago no longer apply. If churches are sitting back and just waiting for all their young people to flood back in as they move into their thirties, they are likely in for a rude awakening. Inaction now could be creating a church that does not have a strong future.”
Recognizing the decline in engagement of this population can spur us on to creating ways to reestablish the connection between young adults and churches or ministry. The season of life in a person’s 30’s-40’s can create life patterns that impact generations to come. Offering ministry options specifically targeted to this demographic is one way to provide an outreach.
Caring Network is great way to plug in to a church ministry. If you’re a young adult, or of any age, there are many ways to get involved. Through volunteering, prayer, outreach, or partnering with us, you can participate in a local faith-based organization, while furthering the mission and vision of our ministry. We rely on people like you from every generation in our churches and surrounding community!