Within the metro area of Fargo, North Dakota, and Moorhead, Minnesota, are scores of vital mainline churches. So why are 45,000 young adults—close to a quarter of the entire population—not connected to any of them?
In economic terms, it's not a supply-side issue; there's simply no demand for church from the young adults. In my new call as developer of young adult ministry in the Fargo-Moorhead area, I've been meeting and talking with young adults in area pubs and coffee shops. After only a dozen conversations, it became clear that what many mainline churches here offer—the worship, the programs, the intergenerational community—fails to connect with many in their twenties and thirties. Perhaps this was predictable, but for me, a 28-year-old pastor called to work with other young adults, it's been a troubling discovery.
Adam J. Copeland teaches faith and leadership at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. He has served as pastor of a Presbyterian church and as mission developer of a Lutheran ministry. He blogs at A Wee Blether, part of the CCblogs network.