I had the pleasure of attending an amazing event tonight hosted by Dr. Greg Henderson and his lovely wife Tam Henderson. The goal of this mixer was to invite young adult believers and even unbelievers to an atmosphere that is not church. The question has risen up as to why young adults don't come to church and what is separating this current generation from church. You may be wondering well if you want to get young adults to come to church why not have an event at church? We have to remember that a building is not "the church" but that WE the PEOPLE are "THE CHURCH". We make up the body of Christ. Aside from that tonight Dr. Henderson dug deeper into this question and many more.
Before this event I had the pleasure of sitting down with Mr. Henderson to talk about some of the topics and real situations that young adults are dealing with. There are a lot of young people who strive and want to have a relationship with Christ but have been hurt and discouraged by the people of the church. This has caused a lot of young adults to refrain from going to church and forming this idea that they don't have to attend church in order to have a relationship with Christ. When talking with Mr. Henderson I asked him what he feels is the biggest disconnect between young people and the church and he spoke about how a lot of people conveniently choose not to remember their history and their life before Christ. He spoke to the fact that there are a lot of people who act holier than thou which forms a judgmental mentality on those who are new in Christ. He stated that it isn't impossible to serve God with your life while being young.
As a minister who is trying to reach those that are far from Christ I asked Mr. Henderson how does he go about talking about real life topics that need to be talked about in the church without watering down God's word. He stated that he goes about making the person feel comfortable to share and allowing them to realize reality versus what they tend to see on social media or what society feeds them. He also makes sure that he shows them God's word and giving relatable examples. He also allows himself to be transparent as a way of solidarity with the person. Simply teaching and not preaching at the person. A question that I believe most older generations wonder is how they can relate more to the younger generation and Dr. Henderson's response was that the older generation have to remember that the game is still the same but the pieces are just different. He also stated how the older generation have to stop being so controlling and dictating the younger generation. Give these young adults a voice to be heard and ask them about what's going on in their life, empower them and give them leadership.
We also chatted about the lack of male presence in young adults and what could be done to open the door for more young men to feel comfortable coming to church. Dr. Henderson said simply to cater events more towards men and talk to young men more with respect and be mindful to masculate men and not emasculate them. Also making sure to balance out femininty and masculinity. He also spoke on how as a community we have to stop challenging men more than we empower and encourage them. He made clear to also eliminate stigmas against males. We have to unify and solidify with men.
This conversation was so insightful as we approached tonight which was the Real Talk event. The event again was amazing. It was very refreshing to be around other young adults who are curious about building a relationship with God. The atmosphere was loving, friendly, and a safe haven for any question big or small to be asked and answered. The food and refreshments were a kick too! I enjoyed listening to people's thoughts and the feedback to the thoughts. I love how God's word was still spoken about and brought to light without it being watered down in order to preserve feelings but at the same time told with love and truth. Dr. Henderson did an amazing job at executing the answers to a lot of questions. I really enjoyed myself and I look forward to attending the next Real Talk Mixer. As a believer and just as a young adult in general I believe it is important to have a community and be able to be welcomed with open arms from someone. This is exactly what I received when attending this event. I encourage any young adult reading this to come to the next mixer, you won't be disappointed!
My prayer today is that we position our hearts to engage in a relationship with God. I pray that we will allow ourselves to put away our generic thinking about church and God's people along with what society has viewed church to be and to seek and focus purely on our relationship with God. I pray that those who experienced church hurt will be healed and free from that pain. I pray for new positive thoughts will be cultivated about God's word and his people.
-Yours Truly, Eb