Yesterday a few church leaders and I gave a presentation during the Sunday morning worship service. We called it the “State of the Church.” Each of us covered a different aspect of the work at the Glendale Church of Christ taking turns addressing the congregation. I think it was probably boring for most of the church, but it was a good attempt at being transparent in what we think God’s plan is for us. Here is my portion of that presentation.
Children and Teens
(Age Group: Infant to 18)
Over the past several years we have seen a decline in our population of teens, and children. There are many factors that play into this statistic, which I won’t get into, but the truth is; for our congregation to grow in these areas we will have to be growing in others. Rarely will a child or teen attend a Sunday morning service without encouragement or participation from their family. If we wish to grow in either of these areas we need to focus on reaching out to young families. Having programs in place IS a vital piece of this puzzle, but programs themselves will not increase attendance. We need an all church charge to make inviting young families a priority.
All of this is not to say that we have not been working hard in the areas of Children and Teen Ministries. One bright spot in our church is our Children’s worship. We have a committed group of volunteers who work hard to provide an educational and fun experience for our children during our worship services.
Another bright spot is our Youth and Family Small Group. Twice a month this group meets to share a meal, study the Bible, and share their lives with each other. It is a great way for families to interact with their teens and has been a great success over the past couple years.
All in all, our ministry to Children and Teens is strong, we just do not currently have large attendance numbers. The increase will come as we learn to reach out to our friends and neighbors more effectively and frequently. And when they come we will have great ministries for them to plug into.
(Age Group: 20’s and 30’s)
This has been, and continues to have the potential to be, the fastest growing group within our congregation. To date we have received a lot of transfer growth. By transfer growth I mean Christians who are moving in to the Burbank, Glendale, Pasadena area. In most cases these are not new Christians. They are coming to us having attended church elsewhere. While transfer growth is good for us, as it will help us establish a healthy core group of committed Christians, it not, by any means, a result of any sort of evangelistic outreach on our part. We want to continue to encourage the transfer growth, but the most important thing we do should be to encourage evangelistic growth. We need to encourage our group, and the entire church to focus on reaching out to their friends and co-workers. As i just hinted at, this is not just a task for this Young Adults group. It is a task for all of us.
One way we are beginning to work toward this goal is through Grace Cafe. Grace Cafe is an event we hope to hold several times a year with the intent of providing a place for young adults to hang out on a Saturday night. We serve coffee and refreshments and provide live entertainment in an environment that is a little less threatening for the non-christian than Sunday morning worship, or even our small group times. Another issue we hope to address with these events is the growing number of young singles in our congregation. We want to provide a place for them to meet and mingle with other singles their age.
We have two distinct groups within our current young adults group: the singles, and the young marrieds. Thus far most of our activities have been for both groups, however as you might imagine, the needs for a young married are different than those of a single person. In the coming year we hope to address this issue more openly with programming geared more toward the needs of each group. However, with limitations on time and man power this will be challenging. I ask that if it is on the hearts of any of you to help with either of these groups that you approach me, George, or the Deacons. I am not asking for a large commitment. It could be that you’re willing to teach a 4-Sunday Bible class, host a small group meeting in your home, or something that we haven’t thought of yet.
These are exciting times in our congregation. I encourage you to get involved if you aren’t already. You don’t have to be a young person to work in any of these ministries. You only need a heart for people and God.