Often, when we experience a
challenge in sharing or expressing our opinions or emotions, we tend to disconnect and, at times, disappear.
Published on: 06-01-2020
Everyone seeks love, connection, and rewarding relationships. Often, when we experience a challenge in sharing or expressing our opinions or emotions, we tend to disconnect and, at times, disappear.
I’ve seen this happen to the youth in our church—even as a teenager living in Lebanon or in India. Adventist researchers have long told us that the number of young people worshipping in our churches on Sabbath has been in decline. I have seen this in the places around the world where I have lived. I have long wondered about this challenge and often looked for solutions and ways that work. I found one possible approach when I came into contact with the Grow Community in Manila, Philippines.
My first experience worshipping with the Grow Community was during a retreat the church had organized. The worship was simple and rejuvenating. I was instantly drawn by welcoming smiles, the warmth of the praise, and the quality worship service. I felt inspired by the excitement of the young adults who contributed to the worship. That was my generation. As people shared, I felt at ease to open up and share in turn.
I got into a conversation with one of the members, and she related the inspiring journey of this community of believers. As she described how Project Grow blossomed into the Grow Community, from a group of friends in a café to a community of worshippers, her testimony reflected hope, gratitude, and a continual dependence on God’s leading.
On another occasion I witnessed a baptism. The entire congregation surrounded the pool in celebration of a newly surrendered life. The fellowship lunch, followed by group discussions and activities, added meaning to the worship service. As I spoke to the pastor, I could see his passion for God’s work taking root in the lives of the members. Project Grow was truly a place “where God’s story and our story meet,” as found in their online description. When our stories meet God’s story, transformation is inevitable. As I witnessed this, I was reminded of a statement by John Piper: “God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.”* That day I was immensely blessed by the worship experience.
It’s easy for worship to become isolated from our everyday experience. At times it becomes an obligation to be performed instead of a response to God’s amazing love. When worship is driven by our spiritual walk with the Lord, our lives reflect His love, grace, and compassion.
All over the globe young adults look for evidence that God is real. They wish to belong to a church made up of people who know God and who are willing to help others know Him. When we experience meaningful worship day in and day out, others, especially young adults, are attracted to the God we worship. When people are valued and accepted, they feel welcomed. They experience true worship and the transforming power of God’s grace. Church, a community of believers, is where disconnected young people connect with their Maker.
* John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010), p. 31.