Bridging the Generations

Young Adult and Single Adult Ministry Prepares the Church of Today for Tomorrow

by Scott Harrup

Eight years ago when Scott Erickson accepted the pastorate of Peoples Church in Salem, Oregon, he inherited a well-established church with loyal members. But he also inherited a leadership structure with 20th century written all over it. And that structure was creating barriers to where Erickson believed the church needed to grow.

“We had a dinosaur ministerial leadership model with the senior pastor feeding down to the other positions,” he says.

Joe Fuiten had given careful attention to the community demographics around his Bothell, Washington, congregation. He knew that as housing costs rose, Cedar Park Church would find more of its younger members forced into distant suburbia.

“The younger people tend to move farther out,” he says. “They cannot afford the housing in close. They are moving 20 miles away.”

Eddie De La Rosa and Templo Cristiano of Uvalde, Texas, realized they had an influx of single parents, many young enough to be grouped with their children in the church’s all-encompassing youth service.

“We were having services for junior high, high school, and college and career all in one place,” he says.

Pastor Jerry Brooks of Oak Creek Assembly of God in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, believed he was serving the array of targeted groups in his church well. But he wanted to ensure Oak Creek maintained a unified focus while meeting everyone’s needs.

To ask for a common denominator among these four pastors, churches, and regions might seem a trick question. There could certainly be multiple answers. But a critical link between them is the need to reach and disciple a key segment of U.S. society — single young adults.

Click here to read the rest of this article and obtain a downloadable PDF of the summer 2009 issue of Enrichment journal.