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Florida Conference of Seventh Day Adventists

Growing Young Adventists

The statistic concerning young people leaving Seventh-day Adventist churches was a staggering 65% in North America before the pandemic.
No one knows yet how the effects of COVID-19 will impact the retention of youth and young adults. Some churches in the Florida Conference did an amazing job staying engaged with their youth during the pandemic, and those churches are seeing the fruits of their labor as young people are coming back and becoming even more engaged in those communities. However, many of our churches are struggling as we open and attempt to reconnect with young and old.
This adds to an existing problem that churches have been facing. The trajectory of our churches in North America is increasingly getting older, and several leaders are concerned as churches close because they are literally dying. The struggle with young people leaving the church is not a new problem, but people always banked on them returning once they had their own families. Unfortunately, they are not coming back like before.
The good news is that churches have discovered a solution to help change the trajectory from growing old to growing young. What’s even more exciting is that this change involves all generations for a beautiful intergenerational movement dubbed Growing Young Adventists (GYA).
GYA is based on a study done by the Fuller Youth Institute that sought to find churches that were loving the next generation well and growing young. About 250 churches were included in the study, and they discovered six essential characteristics of churches that young people love to attend and do life with.
Those six core commitments are the following:
1. Unlock keychain leadership — mentor the next generation to become leaders
2. Empathize with today’s young people
3. Take Jesus’ message seriously
4. Fuel a warm community
5. Prioritize young people, and families, everywhere
6. Be the best neighbor
Every single time churches practice these six essentials, young people return, older leaders get excited about their mentoring role, and the intergenerational model of working together becomes fun. I have seen churches in the Florida Conference start this journey with great success, and the exciting part is that some of our churches are already doing some of this organically using a different language for the process.
Years before the pandemic, the older members of one church fueled a warm community and prioritized young people by intentionally inviting young people and young families to their homes for lunch, spent time listening to them, building relationships, and doing life together. Today that same church has over 400 young adults. The strength of GYA is relationships and being rooted in Christ Jesus through the process of growing young.
If you or your church want to join the GYA movement, please contact Juan Rodriguez in Youth & Young Adult Ministries of Florida Conference and visit www.growingyoungadventists.com.
Cell: 904-329-5030 
 
To see GYA in action at local church click here https://youtu.be/J20IECntG7g