Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (Philippians 2:12 NIV)
I had a chance to be with some family this week on vacation. The two couples are related by marriage but important family to me as well. They have wonderful jobs, are Christians but not actively involved in church. They have been involved with churches in the past, but have not found a place to meet their needs now. Both couples would be in the Baby Buster’s generation (in their 40’s.)
I discovered some interesting facts as we consider reaching people for Bible study. One couple has both working great jobs with adult children, but finding themselves trying to pay for college for millennials and making a life for themselves. One couple has no children (by their choice) and figuring out their future place of long term employment before retirement. Both couples have depth in life and trying to figure out more.
I had a chance to ask some pointed questions to the couple without children. As we consider Baby Busters, perhaps their honesty can help!
My question: What are you looking for in a church?
We would start with looking for churches in my denomination. We would look for churches close to home. We would then look for churches that were educational and not just fun and games (flash.)
Unlike the Millennials, some Baby Busters want what is familiar in denominational churches and close to home. Whereas most Millennials would look at a website first, this couple would base it on vicinity to where they live and their denominational preference. No one has contacted them from a church. There is a “no solicitation” list in the city. Churches would need to work harder to reach this people group. For me, this goes back to recognizing that every member is a minister and needs to develop relationships with persons each day!
My question: What would entice you to go to a Bible study?
We would want new knowledge about the Scripture and ways to apply it to this day. Discussion is okay, but we prefer understanding the Scripture for today. Perhaps a panel discussion with two or three different perspectives would be best. We want time to hear the possibilities, reflect upon them and then decide how to live into the passage. Biblical truths are ageless, but some parts need to be modernized. (Eating pork was one of the examples mentioned.)
Millennials, Baby Boomers and Baby Busters would agree that we need to bring God’s Word to life application today. Pat answers won’t work for these three important demographics. We need to wrestle with the text as a class and discover timeless truths about Scripture. Perhaps a panel of three persons discussing how the passage applies to them would be a great way to start!
My Question: What if a friend invited you to Bible study?
If a friend invited me, I wouldn’t necessarily go, unless the person is leading the Bible study. If they are in a different class, I probably wouldn’t go.
Invite people who would be in your class! Relationships trump everything else. They may try a class at least once. The next step is up to the teacher and care groups to show that the person is important.
The bottom line is this: we all have some work to do to reach younger generations.