As church leaders, we need to recognise our subtle tendency to let our agendas take over from God’s agenda. I’ve found that one of the best ways to keep God’s agenda and priorities front and centre is to preach through whole books of the Bible in our Sunday teaching series.

That means we can’t avoid the tricky subjects, and also that we aren’t always just talking about our favourite parts of the Bible, or even those passages we think will appeal most to young adults.

Share the scriptures

Sharing the whole of the scriptures, we find that the richest and deepest applications and implications for our lives emerge when we see our place in God’s story. 1 Thessalonians is a great example – both for its rich theology and for the way it applies to topics very relevant to young adults, such as sex and relationships, work and vocation, and life and death. 


Try a preaching series in this letter with young adults and you’ll share Paul’s experience of God’s word at work: And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

Share life

I’ve been meeting with a few young adults for discipleship and Bible study over the last couple of years. It’s been a privilege to be part of it, learn together and grow in Christ. Recently, we had some of them over for dinner in the garden with our family. We simply ate together and they played games with our children. We shared conversation, stories and laughter. Around that table, I felt like I got to know them better, and had just as much fresh insight into their lives from those two hours of sharing life and food as I had in the previous two years of studying the Bible with them! 

To use the metaphor of a house, used in the 7 Conversations resource for reaching young adults, it’s vital to spend time in the study” with young adults, but it’s also essential to spend time in the kitchen” and all the other rooms of the house. This is very much like the way Paul and his team shared life with the Thessalonians: Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well” (1 Thessalonians 2:8).

Share the bigger canvas

Imagine life as a big canvas God is painting on. All of us tend to focus on the small part that we are painting, and perhaps that is especially the case for young adults, being at such a formative stage of life. We’ve found that one of the healthiest ways we can help young adults is not only to help them develop with their contemporaries, but to help them see the bigger canvas. Being part of a church family can mean having the privilege of friendships across the generations, and across so many different walks of life. 

Even beyond our local church, we can help people step back to see what God’s doing in a whole city or region. Where Paul sees this, he gives thanks and encourages Christians to do this all the more: Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more” (1 Thessalonians 4:9 – 10).

This blog is part of 7 Conversations, a suite of interactive, integrated resources for leaders in local settings seeking to understand young adults and bring them into a rock-solid relationship with Jesus.

7 conversations your church needs to have to reach young adults

7 conversations your church needs to have to reach young adults

A suite of resources to help your church reach, engage and disciple 20s and 30s Find out more