A New Day
In worship Sunday, Sabal Palm Elementary Principal Ray King challenged us with words from Acts 20:35: “In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’ ” Ray captured the essence of Love Tallahassee (LoveTLH). By blessing others, we change our lives in the process and reach the next generation for Christ.
Millenials, the emerging generation of young adults born between 1980 and 2000, represent a unique challenge for the church. On the one hand they have served faithfully in Afghanistan and Iraq. They have answered the call in Teach for America and Americorps. As they graduate from college, they find a challenging, uncertain job market. They remain remarkably skeptical about the church. Most of their parents were divorced. If they went to church as children, they more than likely went to multiple churches—one for daycare, another for Bible study, another for worship, another for camp. Only 20% remain in church during their college years. If they get married, they wait much longer than their parents did (you can understand why). When they return to church after dropping out, it takes much longer than previous generations.
Needless to say, it’s a new day. It requires a different set of ministry practices than before. We need innovation, commitment, integrity, and a high degree of authenticity with these adults. Our church has certainly faced its fair share of challenges and opportunities with this group. Under Zach Allen and Josh Hall’s leadership, we are developing a new strategy that is faithful to who we are as the First Baptist family and is adaptable to the challenges.
During Love TLH, you are seeing a small glimpse of that strategy. Josh launched a new young adult department this past Sunday. It combines the young single adults and young married adults without kids into one group: Young Adult 1. This group is defined not by their marital status but by their life stage: young adults without children. It’s a natural fit for our church and captures those exiting the college years but before they reach the parenting years.
Young Adult 2 is a department for parents: adults with children from babies to youth. It’s a wide mix of ages and ranges, built around the way we (I’m one of them) socialize. We tend to hang out with the parents of our kids’ friends.
This week Zach Allen continues the largest back to school event on the FSU Campus. Tuesday night, we serve Chick-Fil-A in our Fellowship Hall, and Saturday night at 8:00PM. we are on campus at FSU with a Luau that reaches thousands of students. Later this fall, our Adopt-A-Student ministry returns; and you will have a chance to connect with one or two of these Millenials as your own. During First Love, we’ll invite service organizations and fraternities and sororities to join us. Like so many other unreached students, they have the same desire that other adults have—to make a difference in someone else’s life. As we serve beside the Millenials, we have a chance to develop a relationship and share Christ’s love.
Welcome to the new generation of ministry at First Baptist. It’s a blessing to give our lives to this cause.