Young Adult ministry is often new and unexplored territory in many Churches today. If you find yourself in a position where you want to begin a young adult ministry for your church, but have no idea where or how to begin, we pray this article will help pave the way for your congregation’s new and growing young adult ministry.
Why is SWORD important?
Because we do not realize the promises of God for our lives, we walk away from God. We do not realize that God wants us to be the next President of the General Conference or Board member, wants you to be the next Bible Advocate Editor, the next Missions Director. God wants you to walk across the street and save your neighbor and his children, and his children’s children. It’s super easy to begin that walk away from God once we reach adulthood. We not only find ourselves drifting far away from God, but far away from His people, the Church. We become too ‘old’ for the youth activities and gatherings. We find ourselves uncomfortable and maybe sometimes even intimated by the older people in our congregations. Whether we’d like to admit it or not, it becomes easy to separate and disappear from our God and from our Churches. Young adult ministry is vital to our congregations. Everyone needs encouragement and fellowship. Young adults end up not finding these things in Church so they trade ‘Church’ for their worldly friends, their hobbies, their schooling and work, maybe even for their husbands and wives. Beginning a Young Adult Ministry, a SWORD group in your congregation, will help those young adults in our congregations to stay encouraged and stay active in the Lord.
Building a SWORD group
And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching. Hebrews 10:24&25
#1 “Consider one another” – build relationships, come out of your box. If you are single, think about those married couples in the pew next to you. If you are married, think about the newly separated or divorced man or woman in your congregation. Think about each other during the week, not only on the weekends. Tangible relationship building. Practical. Invite each other over for dinner or a bar-b-que. Go shopping together. Hold a playdate. An x-box night. Go work out together once a week, etc.
#2 “Stir up love & good works” – As you get to know each other on a more personal basis not only during ‘church’, talk with each other about ideas for building your local church. Talk about what you can do along with them to build the kingdom of God. Pray about it together. Really. Pray together.
#3 “…Assembling of ourselves together…” – there are many ways to ‘assemble’ together. The very basic (and more easier) thing you can do is begin a bible study series at your local church to take place during Sabbath School. Or maybe even after lunch or Saturday evening. The next best thing to initiate would be a home study once a month at someone’s house. This may even be a greater opportunity especially if a lot of the young adults in your church no longer feel comfortable stepping into a church building anymore. It’s less threatening for them to step into a home. Other ideas for assembling: corporate worship nights, rallies or revival weekend services, weekend retreats, girls night out, guys night out, sports teams/tournaments, community service projects, extracurricular outings, etc.
#4 – “Exhorting one another…” dictionary.com = to urge to a duty. To advise or caution earnestly.
Keep each other in check. Check in on each other. This may be the hardest part in building a young adults ministry for your local church, but we need to be lovingly honest with each other. We need to remind each other of our duty to God and our duty to be ministers, daily.
Keeping It Fresh
Here are some ideas you can try out to keep your young adult ministry hip, happening and now…
- Rotation of leadership. (One year, you might be the leader. Next year, give someone else a shot, don’t hog the ball!)
- Change up of activities (i.e. if you always do bible studies, stop for a while and try a DVD study or meet to plan for a Young Adult Rally/Retreat)
- Attend a yearly SWORD Retreat to get encouragement and acquire new ideas and gain new fellowship. Youth are not the only ones that get to have fun at camp! Believe it or not, there are young adult camps that are fun, family friendly, etc. so why not take advantage of it?
- Look into Young Adult weekend seminars/DVD seminars like www.RightNow.org. DVD seminars are an excellent discussion starter. You may not always agree with every concept or word on a certain topic but it’s good to get everyone’s thoughts and opinions. www.Rightnow.org has excellent leadership material any young adult could relate to!
- Look into ways to get involved in the CoG7 ministries (i.e. take a missions trip together for Pioneer Missionary Training or Shine Medical & Dental Missions, take some LifeSpring classes together, etc.) How about sponsor an orphan or ex-sex trafficking slave through the Orphans & Widows Ministry of the Church of God 7th Day?
- Look at the hobbies, interests and abilities of the young adults in your congregation and take them into consideration. If you have a artist who paints, why not ask them to give a painting 101 class? How about a good baker or a golfer? Ask them to lead a social or a gathering to bake or play golf together? If you express interest in someone’s life and what they do, they will be more apt to open themselves to fellowship and God.
If you have any other questions or suggestions about building a young adult ministry, we’d love to hear from you. Contact the National SWORD Director or the Coordinator in your district.
Our prayers are with you!