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If the 50’s Came Back We'd Be Ready
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by Ivan Williams

Pastor Nelson Fernandez Jr. writes, “If the 1950s were to come back, many churches would be ready to receive the culture and people of the day.” He suggests that at our growth peak there was a “general trend and willingness to engage the predominant popular culture at the time.  Adventists were willing to explore the values that the larger society held dear and tweak their outreach methods to meet the culture where they were, and thus transform culture into one of the most engaged generations ever.”[1] Could it be that our growth has slowed because we lost a sense of cultural connection and don’t know what to do with current culture? Nowhere is this more costly to our church than the risk of becoming obsolete to the largest generation ever to walk foot in North America—The Millennial generation.
 
This threat has grabbed the attention of NAD leadership and in 2013 they launched ‘Young Adult Life’, an initiative to study and find options for engaging Millennials. The initiative commissioned Barna Research to study Adventist young adults to discover how good of a fit the Adventist Church was for them.  Adventist young adults responded to the report with suggestions how to improve the fit.  Allan Martin and Clint Jenkins share a vision for engagement. Shane Davis, Angelo Grasso, Anna Romuald, Trevis Moorly and John-Mark Steubing all share the results of their experiments in local congregations, Adventist campuses, and secular universities.  Nathan Brown shares a General Conference initiative that gets young adults out of church and into the community for one day a year.  ‘What keeps young adults in the church?’ is an NAD commissioned study of one congregation that has an exceptionally high retention of young adults. Finally Roy Ice shares some innovative evangelistic tools developed by Loma Linda University Church designed by and for young adults.
 
Many Adventist congregations are engaging and redeeming the culture of Millennials and in so doing--embracing Millennials. It is my prayer that this edition of CALLED can stimulate your congregation to welcome the largest demographic cohort in the history of North America.
 
[1] http://www.pastornelsonsblog.com/3-areas-where-adventism-is-stuck-in-the-1950s-and-why-we-need-the-50s-again/#more-668