Generation Spark to Reach More Churches

Over the short time that our pilot ministry has been up and running, we have experienced an encouraging amount of interest in churches wanting to learn more about us. Since we are so new and there are only a few of us on staff, we don’t have the resources to travel to all of these churches to share our vision.

This ministry is based on relationships, and we believe that having a face to face meaningful conversation is a key aspect of building a strong relationship. For this reason, a phone call with the distant churches was out of the picture. We recently spread our wings and explored the world of video conferencing. We were able to meet with a group from a church in Elmhurst, IL right from our our conference room in Holland, MI. This successful presentation did more than simply share information; it actually created a dialogue that left both parties feeling knowledgeable and connected.


This is a big feat for us at Generation Spark. The fact that this video conference was successful and that we were able to talk with each other as if we were in the same room created a new dynamic within our ministry.What does this mean for us? We can now conduct more meetings with distant churches. This means we can spread the need for youth to know they matter. This means we can help more churches keep their youth engaged. If you ask me, this is great news!

Do Churches Care About Their Youth?

One thing is clear: research reveals that many church leaders seem genuinely concerned about the number of youth who choose to no longer attend or affiliate with a faith community.  The problem is scary real.
What’s even scarier, however, is the evidence that these same church leaders may actually be more concerned about the problem than they are about the youth themselves.  A recent study of over 10,000 churches discovered that members at most of these churches did not empathize with the youth and were not able or willing to walk in their shoes.
Do you wonder if the members at your church care about the youth? Ask a sampling of youth several simple questions:
  • How many adults who are not family or family friends call you by your first name?
  • Will anyone notice if you stop attending your church?
  • Do you have a relationship with an adult from the church?
Please share your findings with me at Generation Spark. We can help your church show youth they matter.
Comment below, email us at genspark@hope.edu, follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook! We genuinely want to hear from you.

The Youth Are Screaming For Change

Are you curious about what some of the youth involved in Generation Spark are thinking? I was lucky enough to sit down with a few of them and now I am able to share their stories!

One of the students I met with is a young woman that is in the midst of her sophomore year in high school. Her Generation Spark story began when her mother brought home the news that their family’s church would be involved in our program. This student has previously stopped attending their church because of her “busy schedule”, as she first explained to me. She later shared with me that she feels like the church is doing a lot wrong when it comes to the youth.

She explained her negative experience with her church’s Sunday School program and how she is seeing it affect her little brothers in a negative way as well.  Her point of view is that there is a lot that is not working within her church and she doesn’t want to devote her time to a program that isn’t working for her.

“There are so many things that are not working in our church. I really hope that having Generation Spark will help change those things too.”

However, after she heard about GS she became increasingly interested in what our program has to offer her. She asked questions and spoke with eagerness and excitement about the possibilities this would bring the youth in her church. She told me that she hopes to be involved in her church’s second session of GS and hope’s that it will bring change to the aspects of the church that aren’t working.

Her story is a testament to why we do what we do. Generation Spark is a church ministry that will hopefully bring a revival to the whole church with the youth leading the way.

 

It’s About Results, Not Just Good Intentions.

 

What is the average length of time you remember a sermon? How often do you feel affirmed by your congregation in your individual efforts to make a positive change in the world? What is the average monthly church attendance rate of parishioners at your congregation? How would members under age 25 rate the relevance of the sermon to their life?

Before joining Generation Spark, I had never heard these questions discussed. It feels out of place to discuss these goals at church. After all, does falling short of the goals mean God’s work isn’t being done? The stakes are so high!

Shifting the mindset toward becoming more goal-oriented adds an element of pressure. However, it’s time. As a youth, I see that many of my peers have become disillusioned with the church. This has lead to their complete dissociation with organized religion or, at best, compartmentalized church attendance on Sundays.

We, the youth, are getting tired of programs coming from good intentions. We’ve attended many youth groups, Bible studies and other activities centered around young adults. Somehow, they are missing the mark. The youth exodus from the church is proof that something isn’t quite working.

As a member of the Evaluation Team for Generation Spark, I am excited to discover the tangible results of the program. After months of developing assessments by working with experts at the Frost Research Center and gathering feedback from youth, the team is seeing the fruits of labor in our initial results. It’s time for the truth. Church youth deserve results.