Growing Young

growing-youngAuthors: Kara Powell, Juke Mulder, & Brad Griffin

Publisher: Baker Books

Release Date: September 20, 2016

Rating: 5 Stars

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

As many church congregations across the nation are aging, Growing Young provides strategies to bring young life back into your church!

One of the challenges that many churches across our nation is facing is the lack of youth and young adults participating in their church body. Many churches have members that have attended for years and are now senior adults.  The problem facing these churches is that as these senior adults begin to die off, so does the church, possibly to the effect of having to shut the doors for good.  Many of these churches have begun to recognize the importance that these young individuals play in their organization and are taking steps to make adjustments within the church.  Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin, all employees with the Fuller Youth Institute, performed a study across several churches in the United States to understand this issue and see what successful strategies that churches are implementing.

Growing Young really works to help people understand the younger generation of millennials to centennials.  How they interact, how they emphasize, and why they are so dependent on technology for communication.  In addition to this, they really layout potential strategies for church bodies that are serious about making the change to bring in accommodate these younger individuals, which does not include diluting or watering down the messages.  In fact, most people want more challenging messages.  This book is a great place to start or at least get yourself thinking about the issue.  The end of each chapter also provides some really good critical thinking/discussion questions that can help get to the meat of the matter.

I found this book really intriguing. In fact, my husband Jared decided to read it as well, which really generated some great discussion.  Jared does a lot of facility planning and master planning for churches across the southwest and he said that he has seen this issue at almost every church that he works with.  Many of these churches have aging facilities that they have deferred spending money on to keep updated, mostly because the congregation believes that the money should be spent on missions or activities, which is completely understandable.  Then when buildings and systems start to fail is when he gets called out.  Then his company and the church leadership team have to have really crucial conversations about the vision of the church compared to their current facilities need.  In most cases, this results in a realization of “we need to focus our money on our children, youth, and younger adults because that is the future.”  Very similar concept to the book.  Many of the facilities are not configured for how today generation is operating as they were constructed to the standards used in the 1950s and 1960s.  It is really interesting in how everything is connected.

rowing Young is a very insightful read on this issue.  The authors did a great job of explaining the issue and the generations.  They also did a great job in laying out the strategies to help make them more successful for those they want to try this out.  I also appreciated the examples that were seen at many different churches and that it shows that no matter where you are or what size you are, you can make a difference.

If you found my discussion on the facilities portion interesting or that it may apply to you as well, Jared’s work website is www.team-psc.com.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

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