A Note from Matt, Resident Pastor for Young Adult Ministry
July 3, 2017
In February when I started as the Pastoral Resident for Young Adult Ministry at FBC Decatur, I was presented with a unique challenge: help young adults in the community of Decatur grow personally and spiritually. That’s it.
The reason this is a unique proposition from the church is that it purposively evades all the demands of a traditional church ministry model. In other words, it isn’t about creating programs and incentives to “attract” young people to the church.
Instead, my responsibilities take on the shape of a local, innovative missions endeavor.
It’s no secret that many churches struggle to get young adults through their doors, ours included. People are quick to assume this means the church is dying, but I’m not one of those people. I don’t believe the church is dying, I simply think the superstructure of the church is (and has been) shifting; we’ve just become hyper-aware of it over the last decade.
As a young adult, to know that FBC Decatur is passionate and committed to helping my peers in the community grow (no matter who or where they are) is incredibly encouraging, and I’m committed to helping advance that mission. To me, it’s indicative of this particular faith community being a step ahead of its Baptist counterparts
My approach is simple: meet people where they are, be curious, and listen.
Everybody can probably relate to this, but young people want to connect. They yearn for meaningful relationships and authentic community, places where people are honest about themselves and their brokenness. My aim is to cultivate that kind of space for people to opt into.
The better part of my week is typically spent sharing meals, coffee (a lot of coffee), and time with young people all over Decatur/Atlanta. Some attend FBC Decatur, some are Christian but not churched, others “spiritual but not religious.” Through these opportunities, I’m able to connect one-on-one with people and learn about what would be valuable to them to help them grow in life and faith.
These relationships and conversations are informing the types of resources and opportunities I’m choosing to design for young adults in the community to step into through the remainder of the year.
They’re why I’ve been working on a podcast series that will launch this summer, creating devotional materials on the side, hosting community-centric activities exclusively off church property, and going to places you’d never expect to see a minister from a Baptist church (like parties and bars). They’re also why I’m designing a FBU course just for college students, a spiritual life advance, small groups, and more this Fall.
All of these ideas springboard from the FBC Decatur’s passion to help young adults in the local community grow personally and spiritually, and all of them emerge from connecting with young adults and learning about what’s important to them.
I consider it an honor and privilege to serve as a Pastoral Resident with FBC Decatur in this capacity. I’m consistently being stretched and challenged, learning who I am, and learning how God is moving in the community. Thank you for your encouragement, support, and generosity! I’m eager to see what else God will do in and through our community!
You may also find Matt's note published in the FBCD Outlook Newsletter, July 2017 issue.