This video, created by the Barna research group, stirs up the ever more challenging question of what to do with the "mosaic" generation.
Working with the Wildfire event has brought this subject into clearer focus for me. By focus, I mean that I'm paying more attention to it, not that I'm understanding it more. I've read the book You Lost Me, as well as several other books that try to tell us why young adults are leaving and what to do about it, but the young adults I interacted with were apparently outside the norm—I didn't have many friends who got "lost". Then I started working to put together Wildfire, an outreach event targeted to help young adults share their faith more effectively. At first we were a group of administrators, then we invited a bunch of young adults to join our team and everything changed—the name of the event, the structure of the meetings—everything. I'm going to be one of the breakout speakers, and I consider myself a "young adult", but in one of the meetings I heard one of our young adult organizers tell me "you're not part of our generation." I'm 35 and have two children, so he was right, I'm not a mosaic. But it was that moment that clarified in my mind that I don't understand this problem in the way I thought I did. I used to think that solving this problem was about two things: 1) personal relationships, and 2) engaging young adults in real ministry and not just the "junior deacon" or committee member kind of church involvement. But now I realize that while my ideas might be good, they're not a complete picture of the problem or the solution.
I still believe that personal relationships are super important. I still believe that every christian needs to have a place in God's work. Now I recognize that the nuances of engaging the mosaic generation are significantly more complex. Wildfire is an event which will reach those young adults who are already engaged in the church and interested in sharing their faith. We'd like for a wide variety of people to come, but we're probably not going to get the fringe young adults who have the most severe doubts about their faith. Wildfire isn't a solution for solving the mosaic problem, though we hope we'll positively impact the future choices of those who attend. SOULS Northwest is in this same category of training the already engaged young adults.
How can we engage those who are on the edges? How do we connect in a way that will show them we love them without an agenda? How can we answer their questions and resolve their doubts?
I'm open for any ideas here, please tell me what you think...
Written by: Jason Worf