Adventist Young People: My Church and Me (Part1)

Blog February 7, 2024

I have written to you, young men, because you are strong, and the word of God abides in you, And you have overcome the wicked one. (1 John 2:14 NKJV)

The 2017-18 Global Church Member Survey (2017-18 GCMS) included church members from all 13 divisions, with a total of 63,756 respondents ranging in age from 8 to 102 years old. The survey had 7,490 valid responses from youth (up to 20 years old) and 17,970 valid responses from young adults (ages 21-35). With such a large group of young people participating, the survey provided insights into their views on their local churches, their own involvement, and whether they felt accepted and valued.

In this blog, we will discover how young people viewed their local churches. We will explore their involvement in church life and whether they felt valued.

Both genders were well represented in the 2017-18 GCMS young people sample. The young adult group had slightly more males (51%) than females (49%), while the adolescent group (up to 20 years old) had more females (56%) than males (44%).

The data showed that young people attend various types of churches. More than half of the adolescent group (53%) attend churches with 100 or fewer members, while about 18% mentioned that they attend larger churches with 200-500 members. In contrast, less than half of the young adult group (43%) attend small churches with 100 or fewer members, while 25% stated that they attend churches with a member size of approximately 101-200 people, and another 20% mentioned that they attended larger churches with member sizes of 200-500 people.

When looking at the data it became apparent that the adolescent and young adult group had similar views about their local churches. The majority of young people expressed pride in their church and its role and reputation in their community, with 78% of adolescents and 79% of young adults agreeing to one or another degree. Similarly, most young people stated that it was important to them that their local church was part of a worldwide church. However, only a smaller percentage of them (18%) strongly agreed that their church organized activities for every family member.

More than half of the sample agreed to one degree or another with the statements that youth and young adults played an important role in decision-making, were actively involved in carrying out the mission of their local churches, and that their churches had a program to prepare young people for leadership. However, we need also to recognize the number of young people who were uncertain (19-23%) if this was the case in their churches. Why are they unsure? Are they not involved in church life? Is the church not communicating its resources and programs clearly?

It is encouraging to see that many young people stated that they feel proud of their churches. It is important for older church members to find ways to show young people that they are needed and valued.

Every church needs young people. While they have busy lives, being involved in education or raising young children, they want to belong and be meaningful involved in their church. Let us look for opportunities for meaningful involvement in the mission of the church.

Published by ASTR on 02/07/2024