Ed Stetzer's new book, Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and the Churches that Reach Them is out and I plan on reading it. I need to finish up a couple other books first, but it's on my list. In the mean time Ed is speaking and writing on the subject and you should pay attention. Today Ed has an article up at Sermon Central titled, Preaching to the Younger Unchurched. It's worth a read, especially for those of you who are preaching and teaching. Ed writes,
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "It is not length of life, but depth of life." Interestingly enough, our research shows that young adults agree. The survey data confirms that the younger unchurched maintain a high level of interest in theology, apologetics, worldview, and other religions.
Many churches have chosen to lessen their emphasis on depth in order to complement their inaccurate stereotypes of this generation. This isn't working now, and it certainly won't in the future. In fact, most young adults are turned off by shallowness and are beginning to walk away from environments (including churches) that foster it.
The days of spiritual cliches and cuteness were never wise, but we can afford to engage in superficiality even less today. No matter your worship or preaching style, study the Word deeply and seek to communicate it thoughtfully. We know you've heard the common wisdom to "make it simple," "make the application your points," and "make it simple to apply" and these are not necessarily bad approaches, but many young adults are finding simplistic communication less helpful than their Baby Boomer counterparts.
What young adults are interested in, however, is preaching that engages on several levels, provokes deeper thoughts, and reveals complexity. This doesn't mean watering down the truth; it means teaching the truth in all its challenging fullness. Preaching that engages the younger unchurched is deliberate preaching crafted with depth of thought and delivered with conviction. Think and rethink. Evaluate and reconsider.
I've never been a fan of dumbing things down, but am an advocate for raising people up. Ed's words are encouraging and I certainly find what he says to be true in our context. If this is interesting to you pick up a copy of Ed's book, Lost and Found: The Younger Unchurched and the Churches that Reach Them.