Today, I wanted to refer you to two new posts about why young adults are not enjoying and sticking with their parents' churches. Below I have also talked about how I connected as a college student to a local church and my advice to passionate (and disillusioned) people in their 20's.
The first post I want to draw your attention to is on Chris Monroe's Paradoxology "Desert Pastor" blog. Here Chris interviews Sarah Cunningham, author of the brand new book, Dear Church: Letters from a Disillusioned Generation, (Zondervan, August 2006). (In the comment I asked Sarah about what unique challenges Christian college students face when choosing a church. Look there and see what she says in response. She says she went to Taylor's leadership conference as a college student!) See also the website for the book at http://www.dearchurch.com/ and her myspace page.
The second post is at Leadership Journal's Out of Ur blog. Brian McLaren has a post entitled:
At Taylor University, our desire is to better and better instill in students a love for the local church.
When I was at Taylor, I was inspired to get involved in a small local church when one of my professors told me: "Be part of a small church. Just showing up and singing loud will be a blessing to them." So I did. I was involved in a little country church of about 30 people. I had the opportunity to give the pastoral prayer weekly, sing loudly, eat lots of good home-cooking, preach a couple of horrible sermons and give lots of hugs to elderly ladies. We had a group of 5-10 of us who would go together: wake each other up, pile in the car, turn up the worship music to "prepare," drive home, and eat meals in the Dining Commons together afterward.
But this isn't the only way. A large church can be great as well. I think it is fine for students to church hop and shop for 4-5 weeks. (Sleeping in does not count). But then pick one (they all have flaws) and go to it every week and get involved. And it is much more fun if you can get some friends to go with you.
If a young adult is very passionate about their way of "doing church" (and disillusioned with the local churches they find), perhaps they can channel that passion into helping with a youth group, a campus ministry, or a small church. In this way, they can experiment with things they are passionate about like: "excellence," "emerging church movement" ideas, or ancient-future spiritual formation practices. What I am saying is that it is hard as a college student to have a huge impact on the overall functioning of a large church. But you can channel your passions into different venues where you can give them a trial run and make a huge impact for the kingdom.