By Steven Ackley
If we want to reach, develop, and deploy young adults for the mission of God and the growth of the local church, then we must take intentional steps to create, provide, and execute ongoing development for them. Here are three practical areas through which to provide ongoing development for young adults.
1. Regularity in Training
Young adults, like all other generations, are creatures of habit. Though many young adults have been categorized as sporadic and spur of the moment, normalized practices are easy for everyone to remember and participate in. Why would we not make training and development regular as we prepare young adults for service and sending in our churches?
A plan is never a bad a idea. Planning your training and development will not only help you organize and prepare, but it will also make regularity and accessibility increase as well. Don’t be afraid of creating a plan and communicating that plan months or even an entire year out. Though most young adults don’t think too far down the road, planning will make your communication easier.
Planning will also help ensure consistency of training. This consistency may relate to day, time, and place but also may apply to groups of people. This plan and consistency will increase the predictability for those being trained. Young adults will benefit from the predictability of training, and regularity can greatly increase the effectiveness of ongoing development for all.
Relationships in the church are, in many ways, the foundation of everything else that happens. Obviously the church is built on the cornerstone of Jesus Christ, but a church cannot exist without people and won’t exist long without relationships. So, allow training to happen through relationships.
Ensure that hallway conversations, coffees, and lunches remind people of the importance of ongoing training and the specifics of when the next training is. Capitalize on the relationships that you and others in your church have with young adults to point them toward the regular or special training for those serving in different capacities in the church.
On-the-job training is incredibly helpful for young adults. Show them how to do what you’re asking them to do. Let them shadow someone and learn by observation, not just through classroom education or seminars. Mentoring is a great context for this type of training as well. Not only will this enhance their training, it will enhance their relationships with you and others who serve in these ministries.
Be intentional about the resources you point to and utilize in training young adults to serve in your church. There are tons of resources out there. Some are designed just with the area of ministry in mind. Others are designed specifically with young adults in mind. Either way, don’t feel like you have to build this training from the ground up completely on your own! There are too many easy-to-access resources to do that like Ministry Grid.
Additionally, identify podcasts or create your own to help prepare them to serve more faithfully and effectively in your church. Also consider books that may be helpful in training. Looking through all the options may be overwhelming, but when you find a good one, do a book study or even teach through the book in a discipleship environment.
We would likely all agree that if we’re going to reach, develop, and deploy young adults for the mission of God and the growth of the local church, it will require clear plans and efforts for training. Regularity, relationships, and resources ought to be helpful ways to think through these strategies to prepare young adults for healthy and long-term service and sending through the local church.
Steven Ackley, his wife Emily, and their four kids live out their love for anything sports and Cookout milkshakes in Murfreesboro, TN where Steven serves as the NextGen and College Pastor at LifePoint Church. Steven holds a D.Min. and an MDiv from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.