10 Ways to Engage Younger Church Members and Nurture Their Faith

The role of young adults in the church cannot be understated, which is why many ministries focus on keeping them actively participating. Although methods may vary from church to church, engaging younger church members is relatively straightforward.‍

Chris Holland
April 17, 2023
Kids Ministry Leadership

The role of young adults in the church cannot be understated, which is why many ministries focus on keeping them actively participating. Although methods may vary from church to church, engaging younger church members is relatively straightforward.

Wondering how to reach young adults in the church? 

Keep reading for our top 10 ways to engage the youth.

1. Treat Youngsters Like Adults

Teens outside on a hike

Adolescents crave sincerity and want to be treated like everyone else. Providing sincerity as a church or youth leader will encourage teens to communicate truthfully. Avoid focusing on current trends in an attempt to be relatable; teens will form bonds with genuine adults rather than those who try too hard.

2. Help Them Discover Their Gifts

Teen girl practicing guitar

Show interest in the skills of the young members of your ministry and offer support as they explore their talents. Celebrate their differences and invest in their abilities, which will benefit both their lives and the church.

How to engage younger church members:

  • Set up art shows to encourage collaboration and expression
  • Commission paintings to decorate your church halls 
  • Create a youth band that includes instruments they play
  • Include their craftwork in your next fundraising sale
  • Host a photography competition with a small prize for winning

3. Offer Responsibility Early On

Ease young members into their adult roles in the church by giving them small jobs early on. 

Responsibility can take many forms, from the clean-up squad and snack preparation to activity organization and fundraising initiatives. When people show an interest, offer them small jobs and reward them for good work. 

Celebrating these hardworking youngsters publicly will inspire more sign-ups.

4. Small Groups for Young Adults

Small group of young adults at the beach

Small groups aren’t just for adults, but adult-style small groups can’t be plastered onto teens, either. Approach these groups with a thoughtful eye and ensure that what’s offered is appropriate for the teenage age group. Youth ministry in the church thrives on genuine connections, and small group settings make that possible.

Teens have inquisitive minds, and it’s natural for them to ask a lot of questions. Creating safe spaces for them to air their queries about God and thoughts about the church will allow them to resolve their doubts in the company of friends, and trusted church workers. Don’t shut down curiosity—welcome it.

5. Focus on Topics of Interest

Ministry for young adults in church should not be a replica of adult ministry, only simpler. Choosing the same themes for a youth church service that appeals to older adults will only alienate the youngsters at your church. Kids and teens have particular interests, and catering to these will keep them engaged and participating.

Youth church service themes should include topics that are relevant to their lives, including some that traditional churches may shy away from. Facing themes like peer pressure, mental health, racism, climate change, and sex alongside Biblical teachings will get people talking.

6. Activities for Young Adults in Church

Youth playing frisbee

Appealing to the teen audience through the activities offered is also key. Young adults are at a turning point, so don’t lump them together with younger children, assuming they will be interested in the same type of fun. Create a youth group for people aged 18-22, enabling connection with people at a similar stage in life and development.

How to engage younger church members:

  • Trivia night based on popular topics among the group
  • Group sports games like basketball, baseball, and soccer
  • Paintball day to build bonds and connect
  • Board games gatherings

7. Provide Intentional Transitions 

Why do people across different cultures, religions, and locations use coming-of-age ceremonies? These celebrations intentionally mark the shift from one period of youngsters' lives into another with more responsibility and different roles. Equip something similar at your church to support youngsters as they transition to young adults. 

Ceremonies help us navigate transitions in life, moving us toward the next step in our journey. As a church leader, you should take the lead in this adjustment, guiding the youth at your church from kids' ministry to young adulthood with meaning. Make this shift conscious and inspire a deeper connection with the new chapter of their life.

8. Show Interest In Their Lives

Praying for youth at church

Your role as a youth ministry leader should not start and end at the doors of your church. While it is true that the majority of your focus lies in how your kids connect with God and the Bible, the answer to the question of how to get young adults involved in church lies in connecting with what they do beyond the walls of your church.

Doing this recognizes that they are whole people, and their membership at the church is only one part of their identity. Dedicating some time to understanding the hobbies and interests held by the youth at your church will make you more relatable as a leader and more appealing as a person they can trust.

9. Employ Relatable Church Workers

While this may sound simple on paper, connecting with youngsters can be difficult. As previously mentioned, attempts that miss the mark can leave young adults rolling their eyes. Embarrassing attempts to be one of the kids are not fun for anyone, but the key is choosing relatable church workers to take on this role.

Charisma is an important characteristic of any leader, especially in ministry for young people. If the young adults at your church don’t connect with or can’t relate to your chosen minister, the chances are they will disengage from the process. Check out this blog for 11 traits of a strong youth pastor.

10. Find Out What They Want

Asking group what they want through an online survey

What are young adults looking for in a church? The truth is that no one knows what the young adults at your church want from a ministry better than they do. Turning the stage to the people who will benefit from your ministry for young people will keep you from missing the mark.

Ask them in small group sessions, offer an anonymous tip box or survey, and listen to the results of trial and error whenever you try something new. This will help you curate a detailed overview of what your youngsters need from their ministry.

11. Equip a Curriculum That Does It for You

Orange Curriculum

Following the constant changes that young people go through from childhood to adolescence to young adulthood can be difficult, as these differences are often subtle and highly nuanced. Choosing a curriculum designed by child development experts to appeal to each age group will take the pressure off your youth ministry leaders.

Orange Curriculum for kids designs focused and intentional ministry for kids of different ages, ensuring young people stay engaged and inspired. Their XP3 Youth Ministry Strategy is more than just a collection of sermons—it is a way to meet youngsters where they are and support them through changes.

The Importance of Connection

How to engage younger church members? 

By appealing to their needs. 

Disregarding young people in church will see the size of your service diminish rapidly as their connections with God fade away. Invest in your youngsters, and they will invest in your church in return.

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