The thrust of the article is that by creating services and even churches devoted exclusively to young adults, we have actually harmed them more than helped them. The conventional argument is that this group has left the church (or never bothered to enter the church) because they feel ignored. In response, churches reached out and created these special services. We even have a whole movement of tragically hip young adult Christians we call the Emerging Church.
Hadley believes that our generation has effectively been cut off from the older generation of Christians, which is to our detriment. As she looks at the New Testament church, she sees a group that is integrated in all areas – even age. She feels that age integration is essential for our generation to mature in a healthy way.
I agree that age segregation is a growing problem in the church. My church is blessed to have a wide range of age groups. I have actually seen first hand the impact being around mature, older Christians has had on my life.
But age segregation still happens. My wife and I are beginning a new small group. Everybody in it is under 30. I didn’t try for that to happen; it just kind of did.
This is an issue I’ve wrestled with before, and I always end up with some of the same questions:
- Should the church “legislate” age integration or should it let things happen organically, even if that means segregation?
- Are these new church services, congregations, etc. really attracting unchurched people, or are they just gathering spaces for young adults who think they’re edgy and who want an excuse to be mad at the mainstream church?
- Will young adults leave the church or never enter the church if we do not have church services designed specifically for them?
- Or is it more important to simply be authentic, whatever that looks like for each church?