Church Differentiators

Gabrielle Metzler is a doctoral student in the Industrial-Organizational Psychology program but also a Millennial, herself. Because of this, Gabrielle bears her own faith and that of her peers as she investigates the cultures of churches that have thriving young adult populations.

Research suggests that several core values are important to young adults. These values include: purpose/meaning, relationships/belonging, personal transformation, spiritual growth, unique contribution, peace, fun, social transformation, autonomy, stability, and networking. Often times, young adults find that these values are met through many places and communities such as their school, CrossFit group, yoga class, pub trivia group, etc.

Rather than competing with these places for young adults’ time and attention, how can your church meet their values that are not being met already? Is your church a community where young adults can find value above and beyond their already busy lives?

Young adults only have so much discretionary time, and they want to be careful about how they use it. As a young adult, I admit to feeling my fair share of that pressure. Friendship, health, stability, and simply having fun are all among the things young adults value and allocate their time toward. Between work and all the demands on free time, there is often little left over for young adults to devote to church, which has become increasingly optional. Important values-based activities like finding community and exercising take up time that might be spent in church. However, young adults shouldn’t have to choose between living in accordance with their values and going to church, right? Instead of competing with the demands on young adults’ time, how does the church become an essential part of those values? How can the church fill gaps in young adults’ values left by other places or communities?

~Gabrielle Metzler




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