“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.
Challenged 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.
“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.”
Produced 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
Costin Jordache, MA, MBA
is the Assistant to the President for Communication,
Texas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists