The Harvest is Plentiful, but the Workers Are Few

"The truth is, every church needs young people. Their passion enriches the soil around them. The curiosity they bring to Scripture and the authenticity they bring to relationships keep your church’s teaching fresh and fellowship fruitful.

Young people also need a thriving church. A thriving church both grounds them in community and sends them out to serve.

Your church needs young people, and they need your church. One without the other is incomplete."

Kara Powell from Fuller Seminary wrote the above in her latest book called Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church. The Children, Family and Youth ministries are reading this book and it’s changing the conversation about how well we are reaching young people and young families here at Good Shepherd.

Fuller Youth Institute’s research spanned across the nation, denominations, church sizes, socio-economics and types of communities. They found that churches effectively reaching 15-29 year olds have these 6 Core Commitments in common.

Their research shows that each of these Core Commitments are all equally important if a church wants to effectively reach young people.

  • Unlock Keychain Leadership—Giving authority and empowering young people to shape the congregation.
  • Warm Community—Warm peer and intergenerational relationships are more important than having a “cool factor”.
  • Empathy with Today’s Young People—Instead of judging or criticizing, congregations are coming alongside young people to understand how they experience life differently than other generations.
  • Prioritizing Young People and Families Everywhere—Moving beyond saying that young people matter by creatively and tangibly resourcing and involving young people throughout the church.
  • Taking Jesus’ Message Seriously—Welcoming young people in a Jesus-centered way of life in God’s family.
  • Be the Best Neighbors—Enabling young people to neighbor well both locally and globally. 

We’re actually doing well at some of the above…some. We’ve got a long way to go and this conversation is just starting. We think young people are important to Jesus and should be important to us too. You’ll be hearing much more about this in the near future.

Living into our mission that, Good Shepherd exists to invite all people to grow into a Christ-centered life in God’s family, can only be done if we all embrace the challenge of reaching young people. This means asking hard questions about what we do and what we would be willing to do differently to reach the young people and young families in our communities. 

As we continue our series in the Gospel of Luke Who is this Man?, we find our Lord Jesus sending out His people in Luke 10:2, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send our workers into his harvest field.”

We’ve been praying that someone just like you will answer Jesus’ call to reach young people and young families. Will you?