“Certainly not MY sermon!” – Yep, Princeton Seminary PhD candidate Stephen Cady says he was just as shocked to discover this – and other things – about the spirituality of young people.
When Stephen embarked on his research – to discover where high school aged young adults find God in worship – he never expected nearly all the responses to say, ‘Actually, I don’t.’
In this interview, Stephen unpacks the motives and messages behind this eye-opening research that will really help us better minister to and with younger people.
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What are young people looking for in church? Stephen Cady says – weight. It’s relevance, it’s challenge, and it’s unpacked in this interview. Here are my notes:
What Young People Really Want
Stephen says it’s the same thing their parents want: help understanding what it means to be human – and a Christian – in the world. Churches that do this well, do their youth, and congregation, well.
Intergenerational Worship is KEY
Stephen says the most helpful move any church can make is to get all ages into one service, every Sunday. Ministering to youth means caring for youth – and it’s harder to do when they’re not there.
Dreading the Sermon
100% of the young people Stephen polled said they dreaded the sermon because it so rarely had anything important to say to them. Stephen says preachers need to 1) be conscious that young people are listening, 2) give ‘weight’, and 3) be authentic and passionate.
About Stephen Cady
Stephen Cady is a doctoral candidate at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, NJ where he is finishing a PhD in Christian Education and Formation. Stephen’s research focus is in the role of congregational worship practices in the faith formation of youth and young adults. Stephen has been named a Timothy Scholar by the United Methodist Foundation for Evangelism, was twice the recipient of a Dempster Fellowship through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, and is a John Wesley Fellow.
Stephen is an ordained Elder of the United Methodist Church currently serving on the pastoral staff of Asbury First United Methodist Church in Rochester, NY. Stephen has also served churches in New Jersey and Illinois. He holds degrees from Ohio Wesleyan University and Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Stephen grew up in Olathe, KS , he and his wife, Emily, have two small children. He enjoys running, collecting Superman memorabilia, and teaching people how to yo-yo.
Sponsors I Mentioned
Turnaround 20/20 – Learn from experts who have conquered obstacles to growth and watched God turn things around. Turnaround 20/20 is a unique congregational development conference that brings together 20 experts who speak for 20 minutes each. People like Nelson Searcy, Charles Arn, George Hunter, and Elmer Towns will focus on a specific area of congregational development and are out to spark new ideas and innovations for you and your church. Turnaround 20./20 is Tuesday, October 23 in Nashville, TN.