If you are like me, you are surrounded young women and often you just don’t relate to them because you are not sure what their reaction will be if you talk about your faith, or you aren’t sure you have the right answers for all their questions. Many of these young women in your midst just have not found a personal walk with Christ. But, LifeWay research says that most young adults are very open to talking about spiritual issues. We just have to take the step to engage them in conversation and building relationships.
Here are some practical ways to start that process.
1. Complement for their interest and concern in spirituality. Tell them how excited you are that they are seeking spiritual answers to their life questions. Remind them that we all have a spiritual “hole” in our souls that must be filled. Ask them about their beliefs before you begin sharing yours.
2. Communicate through stories and personal experiences. Share with them a struggle you have had that connects with their struggle. Then talk about how you had strength to navigate that time in your life. For me, it’s hard not to be transparent. I wear my feelings on my face! When we began a challenge with our daughter during her teen years, I didn’t hide it and because I didn’t I was ministered to. As a young woman, I had an older woman who shared with me her experiences of a struggle with a daughter. I watched her walk in faith years before our issues arose. But her willingness to share with me made a huge difference in my own challenge. So for me, my stories of life and how they connect to God’s Word in my life are a natural way to communicate.
3. Embrace the Scriptures enthusiastically. If you are excited about sharing a passage of scripture that meant something powerful to you, you will encourage her to want to seek out what the Bible says about her need as well. I remember when Romans 4:20-21 jumped out at me and became a life line during a difficult time in ministry. I was quoting it to everyone who would listen! If you’ve studied the scriptures for a long time, you have a wealth of wisdom to share!
4. Focus on Jesus. As has been shared in several books recently, young adults like Jesus, they just don’t necessarily like the church. Talk about Jesus’ love for those He lived with and ministered to. Share the stories of his healing of the centurion’s son or the woman with the issues of blood. Talk about His love for the Samaritan woman.
5. Build relationships and community. Get to know young adult women personally, not just as your “project” to get them to church, but to really know who they are, what their lives are like, what they like and don’t like, what their successes and struggles are. When we had a young adult women’s panel last fall at our women’s forum, one woman said please don’t look at her as a “project”. Look as me as a woman, get to know me, care about me as a person more than as your project to get into the church. Doors to share your faith will open as you naturally get to know these women.
6. Encourage worship through drama, video, art, and music. Young adults today love all the media they can get their hands on. Why not use these to your advantage? Biblical worship can take many forms so don’t limit yourself to only one. If you don’t know how to use all the technology, what a wonderful way to connect with these young women! They do know how!
7. Listen to them for ideas of missions, ministry, and worship. As you talk to young adult women, hear their hearts for their community and the world. Find ways to connect their concerns with opportunities to serve. Perhaps you know a young woman who has had an abortion. As she has healed, perhaps she now wants to help other women see alternatives to abortion if they are in a crisis pregnancy. If you have a crisis pregnancy center in your community, find a way to volunteer with her to help her use her experience to help another woman. Your missions leaders may be able to help you with a variety of ideas about community or even international ministry. One church changed their direction for women’s ministry when they asked the young women why they didn’t come to the women’s activities. What they found out was that these women did not just want to be in Bible study, they wanted to be out in the community helping to make a difference using their passions and spiritual gifts.
8. Provide interactive small groups and Bible studies. There are many resources that help young adult women grow in their walk with Christ. Make sure these small groups focus on the Bible and interaction to discuss what each participant is learning. LifeWay offers many Threads young adult bible study resources. Young women want to talk about what they are learning, not just listening to what you are teaching. They want to discuss, ask questions and talk about what they know about it.
9. Focus on accomplishing tasks. Work together with a group of young adult women who are trying to do something so big that only with God’s help and a group of women can this be accomplished. One group from my church has a ministry called Divine Do-Overs. They find a woman in need and then together with their group they have done a room make-over, painted houses, and done other projects as needed. One couldn’t do it alone, but when they pooled their areas of expertise they are able to accomplish a huge task.
10. Listen to what the young women are saying. Sometimes it’s hard for older women to stop and just listen to young adult women. But if we do not listen, we will probably not reach them. Take a young women to coffee and just listen to her life. Ask her for suggestions for small groups and ministry ideas.
11. Express genuine humility and love. As leaders, if we do not serve in humility and love as Christ does, we will never reach the young women of today. They want to see our hearts and our hurts. They
need to know the older women have not arrived. We have much to learn and much of that can even be learned from young adult women!
Watch this video with Jason Hayes for more insights on young adults.