The Indian Church of God for Young Adults

Subject: Religion
Pages: 30
Words: 8501
Reading time:
31 min
Study level: PhD

Introduction

Many churches across the world have demonstrated how difficult it is to maintaining and improve the attendance of teenagers as well as young adults. The dilemma has also been experienced in many establishments and venues in the present era (Niemelä, 2015). It is important to note that the church and the world have employed different methods and strategies to keep the youthful population in their respective spheres (Niemelä, 2015). Nevertheless, the challenge of keeping steady attendance of young people in various churches despite devising new methods still exists (Niemelä, 2015). Numerous worship services today seem to lack attendees from the age of 18-25 (Ballard, 2015). The existing gap in church attendance concerns not only the believers but also the church leaders who are trying to build the places of worship to convert many souls to Christ (Ballard, 2015). The observation of less attendance among the youths has attracted a mixed reaction from the church leaders to church attenders. Many young people have expressed their concern in regards to church attendance as being personal (Williams, 2020). In fact, some of the young people do not want any form of involvement with the church. In addition to this, they blame others for their low attendance, especially the services offered in the church and the leadership of the church.

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Moreover, numerous youths consider the church as just the body of regulations, rules as well as the lists of endless dos and don’ts. Some young-adult feel that they don’t feel in the category of faithful worshipers despite the fact that they have been raised in the church since their birth (Williams, 2020). The feeling of being judged by others in the church setting is also an obstacle to many youths, which creates a sense of uneasiness whenever they attend church services. Young adults face different circumstances in their lives that prevent them from attending church services regularly, even though the desire to attend church may be in them (Williams, 2020). The majority of the youths want a break from the church because most institutions have failed to solve the factors that make them leave uncomfortable.

Furthermore, relocation from one region or one country to another has also contributed to the challenges young adults face in attending church (Jacobs et al., 2019). Increasing responsibilities in workplaces, schoolwork work, desire to make life decisions that are unacceptable in the church, church leadership, worship style or programs, and friending people who do not like church are reasons young adults register low attendance in the church (Jacobs et al., 2019). Remarkably, youths have numerous reasons for not attending churches; however, the Indian Church of God has devised mechanisms to retain young adults in the church. This paper will investigate strategies that are employed by the Indian church of God to ensure that the youthful population maintains steady attendance in the church.

Literature Review

Young adults are going to church in order to establish a meaningful relationship with God and other church members, such as peer groups and leaders. It is important to note that the churches have the responsibility to create an atmosphere that promotes understanding of youths (Fay, 2015). Furthermore, young adults usually want to feel loved by the church members and the entire church leadership. Initiating programs that engage youths is critical in retaining youths in the church because it makes them feel not only valued but also trusted (Fay, 2015). Notably, the perception that many people in the church are hypocritical and judgmental affects the relationships of many youths with senior church members (Hughes, 2015). In order to build a safe environment in the church, it is necessary to lay a strong foundation that encourages a meaningful relationship between senior church members, leaders, and the youthful population.

Challenges in the Modern Church

Right from the 19nth century, young people were part of the individuals who shaped societies through denominations that challenged the status quo across the world. Youths are involved in the administrations, visioning, and organizations that campaigned against evils such as slavery and political persecutions (Hughes, 2015). It is important to note that most of the early churches were established through the influence of young adults. Furthermore, the youthful population actively participated in the establishment of hospitals, schools, and other public institutions that assists in drawing people to churches (Pace, 2015). Many churches have recognized the importance of youths in the church, therefore initiating various programs to retain and increase their population (Williams et al., 2019). Notably, the Indian Church of God is among the churches that recognize the value of young adults in the society and church, therefore spending many resources to retain them (Pace, 2015). Moreover, modern churches are established in a society that is faced with a lack of religiosity, particularly among its young adults. Churches’ problems include lack of commitment to Christianity, lack of denominational loyalty, and unacceptable religious behavior (Pace, 2015). Remarkably, denominational loyalty is the consistency of purpose in Christianity as well as the commitment to the church.

Christian commitment refers to an individual commitment to Christ, demonstrating intrinsic faith and a clear understanding of the religion and its importance to human life. Additionally, religious behavior implies commitment at a personal level to spiritual growth by helping others to know Christ through devotional practices. Lack of religiosity among young adults is concerned not only to the church leaders but to the families and other institutional leaders. It is essential to note that the church helps youth become good leaders in the future and contribute to the growth and development of the church. The role of youths in the church is not a new thing in the world; it can be traced in the Bible. For instance, God used Timothy as a teenager to lead and minister to the Ephesian Church. The role of Timothy in the Ephesian church demonstrate that youths are should not just listen to as adults preach the word of God, but also participate in spreading Christianity. In addition to this, young people are expected to contribute to the growth of the church irrespective of their age, speech, and body size.

The Role of the Church to the Youths

Young adults need support and guidance in order to face the most challenging parts of their life that involves making decisions for themselves and their generation. It is upon the church to establish a mechanism that supports young people at their prime age when society expects them to transition into adulthood (Pace, 2015). Furthermore, church leaders are entrusted with the responsibility of influencing and guiding youths in the church. It is necessary to have leaders like Christ, who will show young people an excellent direction to follow in life, which can also help them realize their full potential (Pace, 2015). Successful church leaders have based their teaching on the biblical foundation to shape their communication with young adults (Pace, 2015). Moreover, church leaders understand Christianity from the modern perspective in order to positively identify with young people (Williams et al., 2019). Understanding modern influences as far as Christianity is concerned allows church leaders to build meaningful relationships with young adults. Furthermore, helping young people to grow spiritually will enable them to create an impact in the present society and their future.

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It is worth noting that adolescents lack the capacity to behave and envision themselves as adults. Adulthood seems too far away for them because the perception of time is frequently relative to age. In the church, youths are taught the importance of the present time (Williams et al., 2019). They do not need to wait for the future or attain adulthood to start reading bibles, engage in prayers, study scriptures, and practice leadership roles (Williams et al., 2019). It is the duty of the church to explore unique perspectives as well as the talents of the young population (Williams et al., 2019). All churches are in desperate need of the optimism and the passion of the young people in order to grow and develop in modern society. Furthermore, youths are encouraged in the church to watch their actions keenly because it has great effects even in their future life.

Throughout history, churches have remained relevant to societies, especially in shaping human cultures. Families have always made it a priority to attend different services as well as functions of the church almost anytime the doors of the church are open (Williams et al., 2019). Markedly, churches have also played an essential role in uniting family members through fellowship. When family members sit together at home to do fellowship, they usually read the Bible, sing, and pray (Williams et al., 2019). The process of worshiping together as family members in homes and in the church often increases interpersonal understanding at the family level. It is also very easy for the family members who attend the same church to reconcile and make peace with one another whenever there is a misunderstanding between them (Williams et al., 2019). Young adults are part of the families, and they need the church to cement their relationships and improve their understanding with their elders and parents. In most cases, the youthful population tends to make decisions that are against their culture, family tradition, or societal norms, and the best place to offer guidance is the church (Williams et al., 2019). Whenever they want to make decisions that can affect family unity, church leaders can use their influence and talents to bring peace and understanding between youths and their families.

While young people have a legitimate concern regarding their inability to come to church regularly, it is also challenging to understand the factors that lead to these obstacles. For instance, it is unlikely that the church that teaches the word of God with lessons on the teaching of Crist cannot create an atmosphere that encourages youthful attendance (Williams et al., 2019). Markedly, Jesus stated in the Bible that young people are his own, and they should be encouraged to go to him. Furthermore, both the Old Testament as well as New Testament have established the existence of youth ministry, and God used young people to fulfill His various plans for the world (Williams et al., 2019). Right from the Bible, it is necessary for modern churches through different channels to reach out to young people and bring them to the church in order to accomplish the will of God (McDonald, 2015). The church leadership has to take the challenge and create solutions to the concerns raised by the youths to retain their attendances. It is vital to encourage young adults to come close to God to improve the present and future state of the churches.

The Role of Youths in the Church

Youths are needed in the church to ensure the continuity of the Christian faith in days to come. Many people are worried about the current trend of young people concerning their absence in church services and other teaching programs (McDonald, 2015). Practically, many of the individuals who attend church regularly will not have the same energy to preach and attend church services because of age and death in 50 years to come (McDonald, 2015). The church leadership is also aging with time, and in the next few years, they will wish to pass responsibility to the young and energetic population (Williams et al., 2019). Youths are supposed to be in church frequently in order to master skills that are needed in various leadership positions such as Sunday school teachers, faithful deacons, pastors, and missionaries (Williams et al., 2019). The youthful population is critical in ensuring continuity and survival of the faith and church in the society, and they are considered as saviors of the church because their future is more prominent compared to older generations.

For a church like the Indian Church of God that has device ways to maintain a youthful population in its congregation, its future and continuity are promising. The church is excited to have many young people actively participating in different church events on a weekly basis (Frisbie, 2016). Moreover, they are able to predict, shape, and influence the future leadership of their church with the engagement of young adults (Frisbie, 2016). The vision they are creating through church leadership and services that are being offered is critical in shaping future leaders and believers (Frisbie, 2016). The church understands the unlimited potential of youth amidst them, which needs encouragement and nurturing (Hall, 2017). Moreover, the population of youths in the church makes the congregation look successful in terms of influencing societal position in matters concerning the word of God. Youths are important to the church and in the body of Christ (Hall, 2017). Apostle Paul in his letter to Corinthians, acknowledges that human beings have different abilities; however, in the body of Christ, everyone is essential, hence no junior Christian (Hall, 2017). They have a critical role to play in the church no matter their age; therefore, they need to be equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills.

The presence of youths in the church helps adults and church leaders to remain focus on their faithful journey of Christianity. Moreover, Church leadership gets the motivation to understand the challenges that people are facing in the current era where technology is taking center stage of everything that people do (Hall, 2017). Youths usually ask poignant questions; they bring new energy as well as ideas that are all critical to improving the status of the church (Williams et al., 2019). It is important for the churches to empower young adults because of their daring nature that involves making a seemingly risky decision for the purposes of achieving positive changes in the world (Williams et al., 2019). In addition to this, the youthful population influence decision making in the church setting beyond traditional norms. The aged population is responsible for passing church traditions to the future generation, which can only be possible if youths are integrated into church services (Williams et al., 2019). It is necessary for the church leaders also to consider a new development in the society as they pass traditions to avoid conflict with the youth generations.

Youths Declining Trend in Church Attendance

Notably, Numerous researches have shown that the population of the youths in the church is declining at a worrying trend across the world. Moreover, over 60 % of young adults aged 18-25 do have a history of not going to church frequently like their seniors in the same church (Gibbs & Goldbach, 2015). In America, over 70% of the youths have dropped attending sermons as well as services offered by the church. Furthermore, over 60% of the youths worldwide will stop going to church for long or permanently because of numerous reasons in the near future (Gibbs & Goldbach, 2015). It is worth to note that 33% of the youths believe that the church is a dull and boring place (Uecker & Stokes, 2016).

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Approximately 25 % of young adults claim that Bible teachings are unclear, ambiguous and faith is inappropriate (Gibbs & Goldbach, 2015). While 20% of youths have doubt on the existence of God, and they believe that God may not exist depending on their encounters in the church and the society as a whole (Gibbs, & Goldbach, 2015). The concern of the youths regarding their absence in the church is worrying and very serious that every church leader should think of how to address them (Uecker & Stokes, 2016). It is only through providing appropriate solutions to the issues raised by the youths that the churches will be in a position to retain and improve their attendance (Uecker & Stokes, 2016). The issues raised by young people are the major obstacle that any concerned party must understand in order to provide an environment that favors youthful congregations.

Factors that Encourage Youths to Attend Church

Youth ministry in the modern church is very important because it leads to enhanced integration of young adults into the intergenerational and larger diversity of worshipers. In addition to this, the youth ministry support churches to focus on the person and the life of Jesus Christ and remain relevant through overcoming the status quo (Alexander, 2017). It is necessary to recognize that young adults are not just conspirators but also co-creators in the divine duties of the church (Alexander, 2017). It is upon the church leaders to structure youth ministry to encourage their growth in terms of numbers as well as spiritually (Alexander, 2017). Numerous youths are not ready to settle in the church and observe denominational culture; nevertheless, an effective youthful ministry can attract such a population into the church and give them more understanding of life (Bullivant, 2018). The relevance of the youth ministry is that it enables youths to actively commit their lives to the local church as well as to Christ (Bullivant, 2018). Furthermore, it gives reflection regarding the culture of the church that can be advanced to accommodate different age groups.

The establishment of a strong youth ministry is of great significance not only to the church but to the young adults. Strong youth ministry builds a family-like relationship in the church among the worships, therefore promoting understanding and acceptance (Bullivant, 2018). Remarkably, youth ministry beyond normal church programs and events. It comprehends the broader church community regarding the inclusion of youths (Bullivant, 2018). Involving the entire church community in encouraging young adults to participate in church issues provides opportunities for spiritual growth (Bullivant, 2018). Additionally, young people are able to advance their ideas concerning the church and the word of God if everyone is involved in their programs (Bullivant, 2018). The participation of young people in church activities increases their chances of exploring a different aspect of faith and life values, thus finding answers to most of the disturbing questions concerning their lives.

Obstacles that Prevent Youths from Attending Church

Many youths are ignorant of the purposes or meaning of life as directed by God due to a lack of engaging and incorporative youth ministry in most of the churches. Many churches have anchored their youth ministry in the old traditions and culture; therefore, they miss the opportunity to capture new developments in society (Oxhandler et al., 2018). Moreover, the youthful population has expressed discomfort with traditions and culture that do not recognize modernity as a way of life (Oxhandler et al., 2018). It is thus vital for the church to keep on updating their ministry to fit into the modern environment in order to retain young people. Many churches are rigid to change some traditions, hence fail to capture biblical philosophy and religious teachings that touch young people in relation to their current challenges (Williams et al., 2019). Moreover, the traditional teaching of the Bible was used to instill church values, culture, and the way of living, which do not answer questions of the youth people in the church. It is important to note that youths are experts in understanding and manipulating their surroundings based on their perspective, situations, and institutions (Williams et al., 2019). Remarkably, the Bible has given everyone the freedom to choose between what is wrong as well as the right (Williams et al., 2019). The biblical freedom has also presented another challenge concerning church attendance by young people because of the absolute right to choose whether to attend church or not.

Technology has also contributed heavily to the decline in youth’s church attendance. Many young adults are claiming to use online to access church services from the comfort of their homes (Williams et al., 2019). Moreover, technology has made it easy for people to read the word of God using their phones or computers without necessarily buying hard copies. Different churches have initiated online services for people who cannot attend physical services in the church (Williams et al., 2019). Nevertheless, online offers many platforms that are of great interest to young people; hence the concentration on the church services online may be a challenge to many. It is important for the church to embrace the use of technology during their various programs to encourage youth attendance (Williams et al., 2019). Notably, many young people use the excuse of learning the word of God online in order to skip church services. When the church adopts the use of technology to promote youth ministry, many of them are likely to be impressed with the church (Williams et al., 2019). In reference to young adults’ program development, technology takes center stage that the developer should consider. To create a youthful, friendly program, church leaders should consider embracing technological advancements as an effective means of enhancing church programs.

Church leadership also plays an important role in retaining youths in the church. The leadership of the church comprises of the parents, senior adults, church leaders as well as pastors (Williams, 2020). Church leaders are trying to play meet their goals of ensuring that young people feel safe while in the church. They promote different teachings that resonate with youthful populations and including useful guidance and sermons (Magee, 2017). However, many youths feel uneasy when they lack proper representation in various groups that exists in the church (Magee, 2017). Therefore, it is important to ensure that youths are represented in all departments to solve the issues of sideling them in the church committees and event organizations (Williams, 2020). Young people should also be given the opportunity to preach, especially in youth ministry, to enable them to grow their talent and leadership skills (Williams, 2020). The leadership should be willing to accept new ideas to incorporate constant changes that occur in the world because most young people are largely exposed to these trends, hence changing their way of thinking and behaviors.

Parents have individual responsibilities to promote the family ministry, which is vital in enhancing Christian values. From their tender age, young people are taught the reasons for and benefits of following Jesus Christ by their parents or guardians (Williams, 2020). Furthermore, young adults can only appreciate the values of attending church when there are trained from their childhood (Magee, 2017). If children are not taught concerning Jesus with their parents, they may not build a strong relationship with the church. Parents have responsibilities to nurture their children in accordance with the teaching of Christ and church doctrine (Magee, 2017). Young adults who are shown the ways of the church have no problem in following its doctrines and teachings. They grow with a strong sense of belonging as far as the church is concerned (Williams, 2020). The modern family has failed to emphasize the need to go to church; therefore, the young population does not see compelling reasons for it. There are no consequences from their parents, even if they stay at home during church services (Williams, 2020). As a result, they choose to do things that they deem more important. Furthermore, parents should act as a role model for young people as far as church attendance is concerned.

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Research Questions

The purpose of this paper is to examine how the Indian Church of God (an ethnic-centered church) retains its young adult population (18-25). The paper will seek to establish the dynamic between young adults as well as the senior pastor, which is critical in retaining the youthful population. Furthermore, the paper seeks to identify the culture and dynamic of the church that is aiding the retention of young adults. In this topic, the interest lies in the opinions of young churchgoers, as their feelings about the church may reveal what makes it special and what contributes to their desire or what motivates them to continue participating in the church’s services and programs. Notably, the research question that this paper used to guide its study includes: how does the Indian Church of God (an ethnic-centered church) retain its youthful population aged 18-25? Does, and if so, how does an ethnic-centered metropolitan church in the southwest region of the United States retain and engage its young adults (18-25) in the ministries of the church?

Justification for the Research Questions

In the context of the formation of an ethnic-centered religious movement, interaction with the target audience is a mandatory aspect of retaining parishioners. According to Michna (2020), for the pastorship of the Indian Church of God, interaction with the younger generation provides an opportunity to expand influence and promote specific ideas more successfully. One of the reasons for this is the active attitude of young people aged 18 to 25 and their developed communication skills, including the habit of interacting both directly and remotely via social media. In an ethnic-centered program, theological doctrines involve creating communities and groups that bring people together through a single spiritual idea (Michna, 2020). A case study approach gives a chance to assess how strong the impact of the Indian Church of God is and to evaluate the role of individual members of the church, in particular, the senior pastor. In addition, specific local traditions can be considered in the context of the proposed issue, which also helps uncover the topic and address the issue related to youth retention. Therefore, from the standpoint of impact, spiritual work with the young population is an objective measure.

With regard to the ethnic-centered metropolitan church in the southwest region of the United States, similar principles of engaging younger adults are promoted. At the same time, Jung (2019) notes that compared to the Indian principles of interacting with the target audience, involving young people in the United States is more challenging due to a broader cultural background. However, individual principles of communication have been developed – ideological work with young families and studying the traditional aspects of parishioners’ cultures (Jung, 2019). For American society, such a principle may be considered non-standard due to mass assimilation. Nonetheless, the southwestern regions of the country, which are located at a distance from large metropolitan areas and administrative-territorial units, have more opportunities to interact with the target audience. By following a case study methodology and utilizing an interview as a data collection tool, communication with a senior pastor can be established to find out the specifics of an intermediary role between the church and parishioners. Therefore, both in the Indian Church of God and the American ethnic-centered metropolitan church, engaging young adults is a significant aspect of the theological idea. The data and analysis that will collect can include potential aid in developing other ethnic churches and may be even be used to help grow and develop multi-cultural churches as well.

In order to fully understand the retention of the young adult population, a few individuals will be selected for the interviewing. One of these individuals will include the senior pastor; the second will be one of the worship leaders, and the third will be an individual in the young adult population. Even though this is a limited selection, it can potentially provide valuable insight.

Methodology

The choice of an optimal research methodology is a responsible task since this procedure determines the quality of the work done and the value of the outcomes obtained. When applied to qualitative studies, there are different designs that aim to elicit research results through distinctive data collection and analysis tools. As the purpose of this proposal, a case study methodology will be applied to justify the research questions, and the rationale for this approach will be provided. A case study methodology is a research approach that makes it possible to assess a real situation from a practical perspective without using theoretical assumptions or abstract correlations. According to Creswell and Poth (2018), questions are common research tools, which allow applying such a methodology within this proposal. The statement of the problem plays an important role since, to carry out relevant and in-demand research work, a specific situation should cause ambiguous or controversial views.

In the case of this study, the retention of the Indian young adult population by the Indian Church of God is an issue that requires analyzing from the standpoint of assessing the entire context, including the prerequisites and accompanying factors. The role of the senior pastor, in turn, can be determined by evaluating the problem as a whole and presenting contextual information. This practice, as Creswell and Poth (2018) note, allows identifying specific research boundaries and provides opportunities to analyze a specific case comprehensively. Therefore, in relation to the given topic, a case study methodology is appropriate and can help determine the premises of the issue, the current nuances affecting it, and the perspectives for all the stakeholders involved.

Site Selection

The analysis of the Indian Church of God, the southwestern metropolitan church in the US, and the aspect of engaging young adults to specific religious doctrines due to a case study methodology is a convenient approach in relation to choosing the site for the assessment. In the context of expanding social contacts, ethnic-centered theological teachings that are promoted locally make it possible to consider specific practices in detail. This, in turn, allows highlighting both anthropological and sociological aspects of the issue, which, as Creswell and Poth (2018) state, corresponds to the principle of a case study methodology. Thus, the choice of specific locations simplifies the evaluation procedure and makes it more accurate in terms of covering the basic prerequisites. The emphasis on the selected locations is due to an opportunity to assess the unique manifestations of the issue in question due to the applied case study design, which is an accessible form of research. This particular church is oftentimes viewed as a leader for the other Indian churches in the DFW area. Religion can be a controversial field for many young adults, especially first-generation immigrants. The fact that this one particular Indian Pentecostal church is able to retain and hold on to the young adult population is notable.

Sampling

The study captured a wider aspect of the church followers and its activities in order to establish the motivational factor that is behind youthful attendance. The research also acknowledges that the experience of young adults in the church could be dissimilar based on the period they have been worshiping in the church. Due to the constrain of time as well as the resources, the study settled on one location, the southwestern metropolitan church that was built decades ago and is considered to have the highest number of worshipers in the United States. The choice of the church was informed by different elements such as church capacity, resources, and location. In addition to this, interviewees included young adults, the youth leader in the church, the senior pastor, and the regular young adult.

The purpose of using an intrinsic case study was to establish major factors that have led to the high retention of young adults in the church. Furthermore, the purposive sampling approach provided a unique opportunity of capturing different views within the same group of worshipers and draw an effective comparison between church leaders and young adults. Moreover, purposive sampling allowed an understanding of different strategies and roles of different church leaders and their influence in retaining youths. The strategy also took into account the diversity of the worshipers based on their age group and experience in the church, which was very crucial in reflecting the perspective of each group.

People Involved in the Study

With the concentration to a single church, the research population was eleven worshippers, which included both senior adults and the youths (Samuel, 2018). The number of parties involved in the study is considered as a typical range of simple capacity, and it also ensures a fair representation of the churchgoers. Notably, the population selected are of the same faith; however, the diversity of the people was considered (Samuel, 2018). The people involved included persons of different ages, gender, different leadership positions, and experience in the church (Samuel, 2018). To ensure gender balance, the study captured the views of five males and the same number for the females.

Data Collection and Interpretation

For the person to qualify as a participant in the research, he or she must have been a church member for the last six months. The table below shows different groups in the church and their representation in the study. Each group of church members is represented by at least three individuals (Samuel, 2018). The group consists of 6 young adults, one senior pastor, two church leaders, and one senior church member. Among the six young adults, 2 are youth leaders, both one female and a male, while the remaining 4 are youthful worshipers without any position in the church. Additionally, 2 out of the four young adults without positions in the church are church members who have been worshiping attending the services for the past two years. The remaining two youthful worships have been in the church for at least six months though they are considered as new members.

pastor Church officials Senior church members Youth leaders Senior youth members New youth members
Male 1 1 1 1 1 1
Female none 1 1 1 1 1

Notably, upon the completion of interview arrangements, the researcher organized for fieldwork to meet with the participants. Each participant was interviewed in the church premise after the Sunday services. The day and the location were convenient for all the participants since it was a church day. Each interview lasted for approximately 35 minutes. Moreover, the researcher ensured that the interviews were audio-recorded as well as transcribed. Each interview was coded based on the role of the participant in the church for their security purposes (Yeo et al., 2014). The interview is separated into several stages, the first one being an introductory phase when the interviewer greets the respondent and explains the research question and the interest of the project (Creswell & Poth, 2018). Then, potential ethical issues are discussed to make sure that the interviewee is aware of how their responses will be used (Yeo et al., 2014). Remarkably, the following questions were addressed in the interviews beginning from the general church topic, particularly on the Indian Church of God, to specific areas of interest to the research. The following are the general questions:

  1. How long have you been a member of the Indian Church of God?
  2. Please explain how you became a member of the church.
  3. Can you tell me about your feelings when visiting the church or participating in its activities?
    • The questions that directly relate to the research topic are as follow:
  4. What do you think about the role of young adults in the Indian Church of God?
  5. How do you perceive your place in the church?
  6. What influences your decision to remain at your church?
  7. In your experience, does the Indian Church of God offer something unique to its younger members? (If so, can you give examples? If not, why do you think so?)
  8. Please, describe the factors that you believe can attract young adults to join and stay a part of your church.
  9. Is there anything you would like to add to the interview?

Findings

The original intention of the research proposal was to identify the structure and mechanisms that the Indian Church of God has always used to retain its’ youthful population in the church. The interviewees that were involved in the research were identified through a purposive sampling strategy. For the sake of the time and the content of the study, the researcher managed to conduct three interviews only. Each of the interviewees cited a sense of understanding, leadership, love, and appreciation, family care and understanding, confidentiality, and trust.

Theme One: Sense of Understanding

A young adult participant expressed their desire to continue attending church services due to a high level of understanding, especially from the church leaders. Understanding young adults are key as far as encouraging their church attendance is concerned. The Indian Church of God has established the culture and mechanisms that enhance understanding of worshipers across the age groups. Notably, young people have energy as well as enthusiasm that can make attending to their needs in the church delighting. Notably, the Indian Church of God has figured better ways to channel young adult’s energy in the right direction. The interview established that the church understands the challenges and concerns of the youth population. Due to numerous emotional and physical changes that young people experience, church leaders are trained to accommodate and guide them accordingly. The church also understands the difference demand between females and males in their youthful ages, therefore offering services that help them transition from one stage to another.

Additionally, the church acknowledges that for the institution to understand the demand and challenges young people are facing, they must be given the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process. The church allows youth representatives in the leadership position to contribute to youth affairs anytime they have meetings or plans for the services. It is important to understand that youths perform better in an atmosphere where they feel accepted. Acceptance, according to the Indian Church of God, understanding youths means giving them the opportunity to be actively involved in the affairs of the church. The church has a youth ministry that is being spearheaded by the young people themselves as they are being guided by the senior members to perform better. In the interview, Shawn cited the relationship between young people and the pastor of Metro Church. He emphasized the point that they view a pastor like their friend despite his age. Furthermore, Shawn’s confession demonstrates the relationship between church leadership and young adult as genuine and of great understanding.

Theme Two: Family Care

To keep young people in the church, it is important to create an atmosphere that makes them part of the church community. Furthermore, they are happy being in a system that encourages togetherness and unity of purpose. The leaders expressed their concern and desire to prove an environment that accommodates young adults like their home. By improving support to young people, the church is able to retain their attendance. The Indian Church of God supports their faith, their marriages, families, career, and transition to adulthood. It is was evident from the interview that church leaders have extra activities that are designed to make youths feel part of the church. Such activities include Bible study, visitation, and group discussions.

Family care implies walking with young adults as well as being patient with them. It also involves creating friendships between the young and the older groups. Moreover, the sense of family care ensures that youths do not feel judged or unwanted due to their diverse nature. Whenever young people are faced with challenges in life, it takes the spirit of the family to reach out to them. By coming to their rescue when they have no one to share with their challenges is key in ensuring they maintain church attendance. Erick has elaborated on what he feels like being in the family in Metro church. According to Erick, the church leadership actively engaged him when his mother was sick by coming to their home and pray for them. In addition to this, Metro church leadership did not abandon them because they were not attending church services regularly. It demonstrates care and patient with young people all the time of their lives.

Theme Three: Love and Appreciation

Metro church ensures that young adults feel loved and appreciated in the church atmosphere. The church has managed to retain its youthful population by making them feel wanted and welcomed in the church. Young adults are given the opportunity to express their concerns and feelings concerning different programs that the church is offering in order to adjust to their needs. Pastor state in the interview, “You know everyone and show them love in the same way, and that is what we do, whether it is an elderly person, younger folks, we try to them equally.” Unlike many churches, Metro and the Indian Church of God have devised different mechanisms to address the inclusion of young adults in their services. It is through engagement and support, which they are giving to young people, that makes them feel they are loved and appreciated. Additionally, the church understands that young adults love using modern technology in different aspects of their lives. In order to show their support and love, the church has invested heavily in modern technology. Most of the church activities are support by technology, therefore making youths feel like part of the church community.

In addition to this, senior church members have the responsibility of ensuring that new worshipers are welcomed and feel loved. They are supportive and kind by their words, hence encouraging the youthful population to feel loved. The feeling of love creates a connection with the young adults and the church members, which makes them want to maintain their church attendance. Furthermore, when young and new worshipers come to church, the impression and feelings are key in determining their future with the church. Even senior church members still need the feeling of love to maintain their record of coming to church regularly. All the parties that were interviewed express the importance of love in the church as a way to encourage young adults’ attendance.

The creation of different platforms to engage youths in church affairs implies love and appreciation. Young people are given space to meet on a weekly basis to cement their relationships with their fellow worshipers and the leadership. By meeting regularly, young adults are able to grow spiritually together and make friendships, therefore, maintaining regular church attendance. Shawn, as a young woman, expressed happiness with church programs and how they have helped young people to build strong connections with one another and their leaders (see Appendix A.

Theme Four: Confidentiality and Trust

All the interviews recorded a sense of trust in the church as a means of encouraging young adults to attend church services. The church has shown a level of trust to its young adults by allowing them to participate in the leadership role. The Indian Church of God also has youthful pastors that are trained and dealing with the issues that affect young adults in the church. By supporting the growth of the youthful population spiritually through their fellow youth pastor and other leadership positions is an indication of trust. Young adults have expressed happiness in regards to the trust they experience in the church. Bu trusting young adults, you are giving the reasons to believe the church doctrine and the culture that is created. They also feel that they have a responsibility to fulfill in the church by attending church services. Trusting their own age group also indicates that their role in the church and presence is much appreciated, thus retaining their attendance. In the interview, Shawn stated that “it is funny because I feel like our young generation is rising to take leadership now. The parents and leadership team trust young people, giving them roles and hear their voices.

Young people have maintained their attendance to the church of Metro because of the trust of the top management. On Sundays, young adults are given the opportunity to organize services and ensure things are running smoothly. The presence of many young adults in the church has also helped in building trust in the church. Having the same people of age group provides an opportunity to share what they are feeling or what they are going through with their fellow peers. Young adults indicated that it is easy to trust youth fellow young man compared to an old man because of their share the same experience or opportunities. Youth people share the same vision and numerous goals in life despite living different lifestyles. Engagement with both older people and young adults enables Metro church members, especially youth, to share their experiences and improve or adjust accordingly. Eric stated that “I learned that to be part of the church and Metro leadership, you do not have to be talented, be a good preacher, or anything special. One has to consistent and try to get better, and even when you fall, you are given the opportunity to rise again.

Theme Five: Leadership

All the interviewees mentioned the role of leadership to influence their lives in one way or another. Metro church has strong leadership that comprises of older people and young adults. The function of leadership that has helped in influencing positive attendance among the youths is their nature of caring, loving, and embracing the worshipers. Leaders also take their time to visit church members when they are faced with problems at their homes and pray together as a family. In addition to this, the inclusion of young adults in leadership is critical in encouraging them to attend church services. It is because the leadership understands what young adults need in order to maintain their coming to church. The leadership of the church has influenced the high attendance of youths through the initiation of different programs in youth ministry. The pastor stated in the interview, “We started a ministry called impact, which worked for several years. The ministry tried to focus on the high schoolers, college, and graduate programs. Through programs, we got some good leaders and young leaders as we bond in Christ.

Additionally, Erick also emphasized the function of the church leadership to influence his faith in the church. Everything I know about the Indian ethnic church and the Bible was supposed to redefine me, and it is because of the leadership of Metro and its people. Right now, I know a small number of people, but I trust them for sure.” When church members have issues in the church, it is the duty of their leaders to ensure that they feel safe without exposing their problems to the public. In this sense, Metro church leadership ensures there are trust and confidentiality between the worshipers, which is critical to young adults. The leadership of the church ensures spiritual growth, friendship, and a sense of family and belonging among young adults. Erick stated that “I know one thing about our senior pastor, he is patient, and he is one of those people I can talk to. The pastor is one of the few people I can genuinely trust, and I can have a coffee date with, and our relationship has been pretty good.”

Conclusion

In conclusion, Metro church has invested many resources to keep its young adult in the church. The church understands the importance of having young people in the congregation. Moreover, there are many steps that the church has taken to ensure that young adults feel safe while in the church, and they maintain their weekly services. Trust is key as far as ensuring or encouraging youthful church attendance is concerned. The churches must ensure that their youths have trust in their programs, leadership, and other activities they do in order to improve young adult’s participation in the church affairs. Additionally, to effectively communicate to youths and win their heart in the church services, Metro church has ensured full engagements of young adults at different levels. Young adults are not just actively engaged in Sunday services but also participate in other church activities like singing and preaching.

The church has also demonstrated that young adults trust changes and development in the church when they are given full mandate to contribute. Metro church has ensured that young adults participate in different levels in the church. There are young adults in leadership positions and pastors who are also in the faithful age bracket. The pastors who are young adults encourage church youth attendance by ensuring that their challenges are addressed appropriately. They use proper channels to address different challenges among the youths, which also ensure trust and confidentiality in the church. Young adults need to be shown love and appreciation. Churches can demonstrate their love for young adults by initiating youth ministry that will ensure all youths are included.

It is also crucial to understand the demand of young adults to keep steady attendance in the church. To demonstrate understanding, the programs and services of the church must address their needs in contemporary society. The use of technology is key in addressing their needs and demands in the church. Many young people like to spend much time on social media or online using their phones and computers. The church has the opportunity to direct the energy to other essential things like spiritual growth, same to what Metro church is doing by engaging in a group discussion online. Whenever young adults are faced with challenges such as diseases or family problems, it is important for the church to pay them a visit to show their concern and care to their members. The process of coming to their homes demonstrates that the church is caring and value their presence in the church, thus encouraging their church attendance.

Notably, youth are a vital part of the church members, and their contribution is equally important. They have the ability to lead church services and organize church programs. The best way to keep them in the church is to show them, build a friendship with them, organize activities that bring them together, such as weekly group prayers. Young adults need to know the importance of coming to church not just by words but through demonstration, which can be done by treating them as one family. When they are valued, appreciated, and understood, they commit to church services and take part in the transformation of lives through songs and preaching. The problem with many churches is their inability to accommodate young adults in their programs, hence leading to sidelining. Young adults who are sidelined in various church activities usually have no interest in attending church services; instead, they channel their time and resources in doing things that they find full satisfaction like watching movies and play games during church days.

Recommendations

The research makes recommendations that can be used to improve the current and future situations of young adults’ attendance in the church. First, the research recommends church leadership should be open-minded in order to accommodate the demands of young adults in the church. Open-minded, in this context, means being flexible to change some of the traditional cultures that do not apply in that current society. The church should use technology to reach young people wherever they are and engage them in Bible study or religious teachings online. Second, churches should embrace leadership change by including the voices of young people in decision-making in order to promote their inclusivity in the church services. Additionally, the visions and goals of the churches should include inspiring young adults to take part in most of the activities in the church. The engagement of young adults in church services and programs allows them to enhance their input in the development of the church.

One of the limitations as far as the current study is concerned is it’s deficient in cross-cultural evidence. The participants that were interviewed for the purposes of the study were sampled from one church, hence making it unclear to ascertain the extent to which the results can be generalized.

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