Young Adult Ministry: LOST to LIFE

Posted in ignition with tags , , , , , on November 4, 2013 by A Allan Martin, PhD, CFLE

SDA infographic v4“I’m enthusiastic about Young Adult Ministry. . . So now what?

The 2013 NAD Year End Meeting presentation on Young Adult LIFE was a home run, having many Adventist leaders and administrators excited about young adult ministry. So what’s next to get the tide turned, returning next generations to our faith communities?

I believe this will require us to move from the research to practical step-by-step actions that each of our local churches and the various tiers of church organization can implement. To that end, I wanted to offer you a preview of a young adult ministry praxis model I’m calling: From LOST to LIFE.

Developed from nearly 30 years of research and ministry, I wanted to share a concise construct for your consideration and critique:

From LOST to LIFE – A Step-by-Step Young Adult Ministry Model

Offered here is a praxis model in response to the telling findings of David Kinnaman’s You Lost Me and the Barna Group’s Seventh-day Adventist Millennials Research:

LISTEN & LEARN
· Learn how your church is doing with next generations [pre-assessment].
· Listen to the context of your young people and discover authentic ways to Biblically engage them [resourcing & training].

INITIATE & INTERGENERATE
· Initiate conversations with next generations about their journey [empathy].
· Intergenerate inclusive ministry opportunities that empower their skill sets [apprenticeship].

FORM & FOSTER
· Form environments intentionally focused on building faith in next generations [discipleship].
· Foster authentic intergenerational relationships [mentoring].

EVALUATE & ENHANCE
· Evaluate how your church is doing with next generations [post-assessment].
· Enhance and refine your next generation ministry strategy [best practice].

So how can I get started?
Start with the “L” in the model: LISTENING & LEARNING.
Here are two resources to get you started towards young adult LIFE:

1. YOU LOST ME LIVE-NEXT STEPS VIDEO
This free video and talksheet were designed to help you better understand the context of today’s young adults. Even if you haven’t read “You Lost Me,” by David Kinnaman, it will help you and your team begin the listening process.

Download the video FREE at https://vimeo.com/65252194 Download the companion talksheet FREE at http://db.tt/b8d6Ss9C

2. INTRODUCING BARNA LABS*
At Younger Generation Church [www.YGchurch.com], we are thrilled to have enrolled in Barna Labs, a full-year learning experience, with diagnostic surveys and practical training from David Kinnaman and the Barna team. This is a limited experience for a select group, so get full information now at www.barna.org/labs *For Seventh-day Adventist churches and ministries wanting to enroll, we’ve arranged for an additional discount to the level you select.

Labs_header

Local leaders, pastors, churches, conferences, and unions can start with these two resources, beginning to learn about next generations and listen to the heartbeat of the Millennial context. NAD, GC, even non-Adventist leaders and administrators can begin with these steps to move their church from next generations LOST, to next generations experiencing LIFE in Christ Jesus.

So now what?
As Jose Rojas would say, “Just do it!”
Start moving next generations from LOST to LIFE today.

1425272_605497896057_2098941370_oA Allan Martin, PhD, is the teaching pastor of Younger Generation Church [www.YGchurch.com], the vibrant young adult ministry of the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church in Texas [USA]. Dr. Martin continues as adjunct faculty for the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, specializing in discipleship and family ministry. He and his wife, Deirdre, tour nationally, speaking about relationships as well as equipping new generations in Christian lifestyle and leadership. Along with daughter Alexa, they reside in the DFW Metroplex

Southwestern Union hosts “Jesus All.” 2013 Young Adult Festival of Worship

Posted in Young Adult Event with tags , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2013 by A Allan Martin, PhD, CFLE

JesusAll-Worship

The second annual, union-wide Young Adult Worship Festival hosted record-breaking attendance this past Spring as it convened in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex [DFW]. Themed Jesus All. – the intent was to encourage next generations to put Jesus at the center of their lives.

“Spiritually, it gave me more reasons to sing about what I believe,” shared student Nethania Amanuel. “I want to be a bit more ‘Jesus-inspired’ in my faith.”

The festival launched with speaker Elder Russ Laughlin, Vice President for Spiritual Development, Southwestern Adventist University, and performances by the University Singers under the direction of Jonathan Wall.  Dr. A Allan Martin and Pastor Leah Jordache led worship sessions accompanied by musical duo, The Only Way, performing an original worship song to round out the Sabbath morning worship experiences.

“The messages in each worship were excellent,” lauded DFW young adult Jorge Mardones. “The speakers and artists were on fire for Christ and their passion transferred over to us.”

The afternoon afforded attendees options for spiritual growth seminars with Pastors Jordache and Marland May, as well as a volunteer service opportunity at Mission Arlington, a community agency providing support to families in need.

MissionArlington“Serving the community allows us to develop our character and use our talents—to get out of our comfort zones,” shared collegian David Kuchurivskyy. “It allows us to pursue something that God is driving in us—to be involved and try something new that will help us become better believers.”

The festival culminated with an evening concert by YG Worship and award-winning recording artist, Chris August.  All done with the desire to praise Jesus Christ, the concert engaged and inspired the audience with worship songs and August sharing his personal testimony.

Registered young adults were given a “swag bag” filled with books and resources to share what they learned at the festival and continue the movement to make Jesus the center of it all. With such great worship experiences, service/growth activities, and social opportunities, young adults are already looking forward to next year’s Young Adult Festival of Worship.

“The emphasis on Jesus as everything was very, very important,” reflected Leah Jordache, Southwestern Union coordinator of discipleship and young adult ministry. “So often we get confused about what our religion is about, or even what our lives are supposed to be about. We need to reminded that Jesus is everything, and when we are in Him, we have everything we need. That was the theme for the festival and I think it’s crucial, especially for young adults who are trying to live out their faith.”

OddieOAuthor byline: Oddie Olazaran is studying theology at Southwestern Adventist University and serves as the communication director for Younger Generation Church [www.YGchurch.com], the vibrant young adult ministry of the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church, Texas, USA

 

JesusAllConcertClick here for more photos of the 2013 Young Adult Festival of Worship [by Frances Otero Photography]

“Do you love your traditions more than your children?”

Posted in ignition, Resources with tags , , , , , , on May 8, 2013 by A Allan Martin, PhD, CFLE

DKatYLMliveDallas

Barna Group President, David Kinnaman posed this poignant question to over 600 registrants attending You Lost Me. Live! this Spring, hosted by Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church in Texas.  The question struck close to home as local congregations are witnessing 59% of their young adults evaporate from church life — the Adventist church not spared.

To aid local faith communities in building redemptive relationships with young adults, Younger Generation Church [www.YGchurch.com], in collaboration with the Southwestern Union Conference and North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, has produced free downloadable resources that capture the essence of Kinnaman’s presentation, but further, solicits ministry leaders to take relevant next steps.

Download the #ylmLIVE Next Steps video FREE at https://vimeo.com/65252194, and the companion talksheet at http://db.tt/b8d6Ss9C.

Younger Generation Church is the vibrant young adult ministry of the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church, www.ArlingtonAdventist.com

That Which Was LOST May Be Found

Posted in ignition, Resources with tags , , , on April 9, 2013 by A Allan Martin, PhD, CFLE

“You Lost Me.”

A difficult phrase to hear from anyone, but when the demographic research of the Barna Group points to upwards of 60% of young adults saying this about their church experience, it is a sobering sentiment indeed.  The Adventist Church not spared, these statistics are finding a whole generation of young people feeling lost and disconnected from the faith community of their childhood.

DKatYGChallenged by the realities facing the local church, over 600 ministry leaders from across the nation registered for the You Lost Me. Live! Dallas learning experience this past Spring, hosted at the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church in Texas.  Barna Group President, David Kinnaman, author of the book, You Lost Me, facilitated a day’s worth of presentations, conversations and interviews meant to inform and challenge attendees regarding the church experience of young adults ages 18-29, also known as Millennials.

Those who attended You Lost Me. Live!—25% of which were Adventist leaders, pastors, parents, and young adults—came away with a renewed vision for reaching out and retaining the next generation.

YLMLdallas“We all need to tune into the frequency where young adults are broadcasting their needs, hopes, and challenges,” commented Richard Castillo, a communications consultant with the Oklahoma Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. “You Lost Me. Live! helped tune me in clearly, placing me in better touch with ways we can make a difference with young adults, an important segment of God’s kingdom.”

In addition to union and local conference leadership, many pastoral leaders attended the gathering.

Pastor Shiphrah Fepulea’i from Garden Grove, California added, “After one day in Dallas—literally, one day—I am back in SoCal with more courage to be proximal with young adults. . . that’s the courage to be close enough to Millennial culture to influence it.”

Pastor Dan Serns from North Dallas shared that You Lost Me. Live! “offered clean, clear, crisp challenging presentations of the needs to reach the young adult generation.”

“The You Lost Me. Live! presentations spawned creative ideas that could be utilized at our local churches,” observed Sharon Leukert, a pastor’s wife who traveled from East Texas with husband Karl. “I wish this had come along 20 years before. There is hope for the future—as well as the here and now!”

Perhaps the most poignant feedback was shared by the young adults who attended.

You Lost Me. Live! was great,” raved James Castillo, Jr. from Houston, Texas. “I am a Millennial myself, and growing up no one really took the time to teach me how to love Christ. I am now a youth leader at my church, trying my best to show young people how to love like Christ did. You Lost Me. Live! will help my youth spiritually and help them make a stand for Christ with love.”

ylm-web-slideshow-spring2013Produced by the Barna Group, You Lost Me. Live! Dallas was a free event for all the registrants.  Thanks to sponsorship by the North American Division, Southwestern Union, and Texas Conference, Adventist attendees were not only enriched by the free presentations, but were also afforded a post-event reception supper to talk with others about their insights.  Then, each Adventist attendee was given the You Lost Me DVD media curriculum to take home and spark fruitful conversations with their church and young adults about helping the lost come home.

“Despite the grim reality suggested by the statistics,” offered Pastor Lenworth Sealey of Lufkin, Texas, “I left with a very real sense of hope and resources to help facilitate change in my church’s approach for the better.”

Similar You Lost Me. Live! events have been held in Phoenix, AZ, and Orlando, FL, with tour stops still planned for Indianapolis, IN, and Colorado Springs, CO.  To register, or for more information on the remaining You Lost Me. Live! experiences, go to http://www.youlostmelive.com

CostinJordacheAuthor Byline:
Costin Jordache, MA, MBA
is the Assistant to the President for Communication,
Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists

JESUS. ALL. THEME OF 2013 YOUNG ADULT FESTIVAL OF WORSHIP

Posted in Resources with tags , , , on April 9, 2013 by A Allan Martin, PhD, CFLE

YAFOW2013-bannerCollegians through young professionals are especially invited to the all-day 2013 Young Adult Festival of Worship, Saturday, April 20, beginning at 9:00 AM [CST], at Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church, 4409 Pleasantview Drive, Arlington, TX 76017-1427.  Centered on the theme, Jesus. All. young adults can enjoy worship sessions, community service opportunities, seminars, and a 7:00 PM evening concert featuring awarding-winning recording artist, Chris August.  The entire day is free except the evening concert which is $8/general admission.  For tickets and more information go to www.YGchurch.com

Other featured participants include vocal duo, The Only Way; The University Singers from Southwestern Adventist University; and speakers Leah Jordache and Russ Laughlin.

The festival is open to young adults and their families, kindly sponsored by Southwest Region Youth Ministries, Southwestern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Texas Conference Youth & Young Adult Ministry, the One project, and Younger Generation Church, the vibrant young adult ministry of the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church.  For more information on the festival or other upcoming events, go to www.YGchurch.com

NAD identifies Social Media among it’s strategic vision building blocks

Posted in Resources with tags , , , , , , , on March 17, 2013 by A Allan Martin, PhD, CFLE

Pages from 2013-1520

Media is the vehicle that drives our North American mission—To reach the North American Division with Hope and Wholeness. In addition to traditional mass media, social media is causing a societal sea of change. Social media users are more trusting, have more close friends, are more politically engaged, get more support from their peers, are reconnecting with the friends of their youth, and are using networks to revive dormant ties with lost connections. Social media helps the church connect in new and effective ways with the strengths of our mission, message, and members.

To what extent has the Church used media to reach our territories? Using the United States as an example, the Barna Group randomly sampled a panel of more than a thousand Americans to discover how much they knew of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The results highlight the crucial need for media renders our target publics more receptive to the message of Hope and Wholeness offered by the Church.

Nearly 40% of youth from 18-24 have never heard of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Of all US adults, 2% claim an awareness of HOPE TV and 1% Three Angels Network. Clearly, bolder approaches are needed if we are to REACH our NAD territory with hope and wholeness.

Role of Social Media as part of the North American Division Media Strategy

During 2011 and 2012 intensive analyses have been undertaken to identify the best way to manage Adventist media in a way that maximizes impact, minimizes wasteful duplication, and advances mission.

Although these studies are still in process, the Division has given intensive attention to the changing role of social media as part of the mix. Social media has the potential to advance all of the other strategic “blocks”: young adults, Adventist education for everyone, transformational evangelism, emerging immigrant populations, and women clergy hiring and enhancement. The following statements summarize these contributions:

Goal: Retention of young adults

For young adults there’s no such thing as online/offline. Young adults connect and share everything in their lives, and this extends to their faith. Social media can help us meet this new culture of connectedness. The Adventist message can be mobile and meaningful to our young adults. Like the companies they admire the most, we can aspire to exceed their expectations.

Goal: Adventist education for everyone.

The Adventist commitment to personal development through education is one of our most distinctive strengths. We can use social media to leverage this strength to engage and energize our members and our students and to attract new audiences for education. Online media is fundamentally changing how education is delivered, and now it has the capacity to reach everyone, everywhere.

Goal: Reach emerging immigrant communities.

Immigrants have flocked to social media platforms, creating their own communities and using mobile media at higher levels than their counterparts. Social media is the means they use, both to stay connected with roots and to build new connections with new communities. Any successful strategy to reach emergent communities must include a social media and mobile strategy that is designed by these communities for these communities.

Goal: Women clergy.

Women dominate social media networks. Facebook and Twitter are both 60% female. Pinterest is 79% female. For many women, the most likely source of input about life issues will be the people that they know and connect with online. The social platforms are excellent environments for affirming the role of women in ministry, and for bringing women into ministry with other women.

Partners.

As noted above, media involves virtually every ministry. Therefore it is essential that ministries are seen as contributing partners rather than passive bystanders. The NAD media strategy, when completed, will spell out in detail the role and function of all entities converging together in ways that create a dynamic synergy.

Strategy.

God calls us to use every avenue to tell the Gospel story. Social media can readily serve various ministries. We can use social media to engage with our communities for service, renewal, and outreach. We can equip our pastors and lay leadership with a dynamic understanding of how to use social media. We can develop specific social media tools and products to meet ministry needs, as well as the metrics for measuring their impact. Social media can help us build relationships that are rooted in eternity.

North American Division: To Reach Our World with Hope and Wholeness [http://www.reachnorthamerica.org/]

Postscript:

Adventist Review’s recent cover story about Social Media: http://www.adventistreview.org/issue.php?issue=2013-1520&page=16

Some OSN media samples from Younger Generation Church

YGiTunesYounger Generation Church [YG] is the vibrant young adult ministry of the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church, TX, USA.  Since it’s inception, it has made integral use of media in its worship experience and has utilized the internet as a primary ministry delivery system to their larger online audience.  As an example, you will find their sermon library available on iTunes as a free downloadable video podcast.

Having a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Vimeo, and YouTube has been very valuable to Younger Generation Church, not only in the opportunity it affords in cultivating community and communication among regular attenders, but also in fostering relationships with potential viewers and extended networks of friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors of YG.

Here’s an example of a YouTube video utilized to introduce and entice online viewers to consider experiencing Younger Generation Church:

Posted on YouTube, facebook, and Twitter, the following is a photo montage clip expressing the mission of YG:

Finally, A. Allan Martin, teaching pastor at Younger Generation Church, has made various presentations internationally about the value of social media and young adult ministry.  Find here a presentation he offered at the North American Division Media Summit showcasing a case study media festival derived from YouTube:

Your Samples and Comments

Enrich this blog by including your samples in our comment section and of course feel free to add your thoughts and questions.

GODencounters Conference Compels Young Adults to Be Present

Posted in GODencounters with tags , , , , on September 18, 2012 by A Allan Martin, PhD, CFLE

“GODencounters opened my eyes to the fact that there’s so much we miss out on when we disregard each moment by dwelling on the past and future,” confided Beryl Quaye, an 18-year-old biology major at University of Texas at Arlington. “I’ve been thoroughly encouraged and uplifted by this conference. Now I feel strongly urged to make the most of each moment. Being present has become a life motto for me.”

For the second consecutive year, the GODencounters Conference was held in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Hosted at Younger Generation Church, www.YGchurch.com, hundreds of young adults came to the conference and experienced the KNEEL prayer room, encounters cafe, and nightly messages from Pastor Sam Leonor, chaplain at La Sierra University, Riverside, CA. 

“Pastor Sam’s messages really resonated with me, especially the part about joy being a virtue of the faithful,” continued Quaye. “Since my dad passed away earlier this year, I’ve wondered whether I can really every be happy again. But now I know that it’s not happiness I desire—it’s joy. And knowing Jesus is the only way to achieve it.”

“GOD has used this conference to reveal a deeper level of intimacy that He is taking me to in our relationship,” raved legal assistant, Deanna Clardy. “GODencounters has been a soul-refreshing, life-enhancing experience I will never forget.”

Distracted by our regrets of the past and worries of the future, we too often fail to be where we are right now. The conference, especially Leonor’s talks, gave focus to Matthew 6 emphasizing “Be Present” as a call to enjoy GOD today, to dwell in His presence right now.  Attendees were challenged to see what GOD is doing today, leaving the future and the past in His hands.

“Thank GOD for GODencounters!” exclaimed Jascilyn Same, an 18-year-old accounting major at Tarrant County College. “Attending GODencounters reminded me to take things one day at a time and not worry about the future because GOD’s already there.”

“Honestly, I was very nervous about coming to the conference, and was very undecided about attending until a friend invited me,” confessed Hope Wise, an 18-year-old student from Fort Worth.  “But after the first session, I was very intrigued and I felt my fire for GOD reignited, and kept coming back for more.”

Broadcasting each session live on the internet, GODencounters welcomed thousands to the conference Saturday morning, enjoying three full worship sessions.  Throughout the weekend, YG Worship led the attendees in heart-felt musical worship experiences.

“As we were led in worship with the song ‘How He Loves Us,’ I completely let go and allowed myself to be swept away in His presence and felt a peace that I hadn’t allowed myself to experience in over a year,” admitted Wise. “I was in tears, just sobbing because of how simple it really is. GOD loves me just because. I believe GOD used YG Worship to remind me that I don’t have to earn His love, I just have to allow Him back into my life so He can love me.”

Culminating the conference, Pastor Leonor shared a closing challenge and YG Worship shared a full concert debuting selections from their first full-length recording, “ALL IN,” which they released that very evening.

“The concert was absolutely amazing!” expressed Clardy. “Music has always been a burning passion of mine, and YG Worship sure knows how to fan the flames!”

“What I loved the most about the YG Worship concert was how everyone seemed to be so comfortable praising the Lord through songs of worship,” noted Same. “Hands in the air, voices lifted up—the Holy Spirit’s presence was definitely there.”

GODencounters is a movement of next generations pursuing a 24/7 experience of Christ Jesus.  This year’s conference marks a decade of gatherings, expressions, and initiatives—all intended to deepen the devotion of young adults to GOD and challenge them to live for His renown.

“GODencounters, for me, couldn’t have been described better than the name itself,” reflected Julenne Gil, a 24-year-old, pre-physical therapy student from Oklahoma. “It was a time to encounter GOD—to be in His presence; not from afar, but in person—close up and intimate. I got to encounter Him on a more personal level.”

“This conference was amazing, I couldn’t ask for a greater blessing. . . I certainly felt GOD’s presence around me all weekend,” summed up Allen Tom of Houston, TX. “And the best part is. . . It was all for GOD.”

To obtain YG Worship’s debut album “All In,” and/or to view the GODencounters conference sessions on iTunes, go to www.YGchurch.com

For more information on GODencounters, a growing young adult movement that is celebrating a decade of recklessly living for GOD’s renown, go to www.GODencounters.org

Author byline:  A. Allan Martin, PhD, is the teaching pastor of Younger Generation Church, www.YGchurch.com, the vibrant young adult ministry of the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church [TX].

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