The young adult years are punctuated with life-defining decisions and frequent moments of change. In these formative years, careers begin, families are left behind, relationships start, dwellings change, education ends, and knots are tied. Throughout this transitory life stage many young adults will also be searching for a church. How we welcome these 20s and 30s from their first point of contact with our church really matters and could make the difference between them attending once or belonging for decades.

This first conversation about your church is about the hallway of your home. The moment that someone opens their front door to you is an incredibly important one, especially for the first time. We all know the difference between how it feels to walk into a space as a guest and know that we are welcome and how it feels to be excluded and that you do not belong. Churches that have effective and growing ministries amongst this age group have a world-class welcome. They work hard at first impressions and making people feel at home.

But the welcome does not always start at the front door. It does not even start with the shape and appearance of the building. It starts online. The online presence of a church is its new foyer.[1] Most people, especially those of younger generations, will not go anywhere new without first investigating online what it will be like . Making sure our online presence tells our story well and invites people to take the next step into community is critically important. 

Furthermore, viewing good online content from churches has been part of the story of many young adults exploring faith, long before they stepped into any church buildings. An increasingly common theme in 20s and 30s hearing the gospel is stumbling across talks and evangelistic social media posts, as the two quotes from church leaders below demonstrate:

"“This guy came to our church. He had been following us and checking us out on Twitter for two years before he had the courage to come through the door.” Si Watkinson, St Phillips Chapel St"

These stories are currently rare examples but will be increasingly well-trodden paths to faith in the years to come; they are indicative of young adults’ default posture to get information online. 

So how is your welcome? From the first point of contact with you as a church, whether that is a glance at your website, a handshake at the door or the like’ of an Instagram post, how are you inviting people to the next step of belonging? Take some time to reflect on these questions as a leadership team. Invite young adults to contribute to the conversation. 

[1 Carey Nieuhoff coins the phrase the foyer moved’ in this article.