Sahlin said that in his experience as a Seventh-day Adventist pastor and a consultant to other leaders, the feedback he hears is that youth don't value the idea of being a member. "That notion doesn’t fit a young adult mentality," he said. "They don’t understand why (church leaders) want them to be a member. They ask, 'What does this have to do with my spiritual needs?'"
The case studies show how some congregations made the effort to learn those needs and address them.
At a Reform Jewish congregation in Washington, D.C., the emphasis is on building relationships through one-on-one discussions over coffee with one of Temple Micah's rabbis or at the once-a-month Next Dor (Hebrew for generation) Shabbat service largely attended by people in their 20s and 30s.
Another once-a-month gathering is "Drinks and Drash," where young adults meet at a local restaurant/bar and engage with a rabbi in discussions on timely topics such as religion in the public square or Jews in the military.
"Temple Micah demonstrates that a successful ministry to the 20s-30s generation must be a ministry that is about relationships, not about programs," the researcher wrote. "People of this generation are over-programmed and have too few opportunities to build genuine, satisfying, person-to-person, face-to-face relationships."
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