I recently read through the General Synod’s publication outlining the framework for strengthening the church and serving God’s world.
While I am satisfied with the document itself, I am concerned with one aspect for the churches plans. In particular, I cite the Anglican church’s lack of focus concerning ministry to young adults. Although young adult ministry is listed among the areas to address, I fear it is simply viewed as an extension of “youth ministry” in the eyes of the national church. As a young adult in ordained ministry, I see this as a fatal mistake made by the church both nationally and locally. The Anglican church as a whole must recognize that young adult ministry does not exist in most of our churches, nor is it spoken about with any great enthusiasm except as an extension of existing youth ministry. It cannot be questioned that there is a serious lack of people aged 18-35 in our church, even more so than children and youth. Young adult ministry needs a greater emphasis both on the national and local levels.
As a start, for Anglican churches in major centres, General Synod could look at developing strategies and programs to reach out to university and college campuses. In smaller communities, creative programs around employment, young family support and education, and single-parent ministry could be a focus. Young adult ministry needs a particular focus beyond a simple extension of youth and children’s ministries. It is a complicated and important ministry that needs to be enthusiastically developed if we are to reach out to a demographic that we have failed in the past. I certainly hope that this is taken into consideration as our local dioceses review the framework over the coming months.
Shaun M. Turner