Three days ago I attended a worship service at a small country church (in Dillsburg, PA.) out in the middle of a corn field.  It was notable because of the number of teens and twenty-somethings who attended - eagerly.  It wasn't a "youth meeting."  It was a regular service for all ages.  Still, 30% of the 300 attendees were under 30.  Was it the music?  The music was good, but I've heard better/edgier worship teams.  Was it the building?  Actually, the sanctuary was simplier than most.  Was it the preaching?  No doubt the preacher was effective, but he was a guest, and these young people were clearly used to coming to this church.  So what was it?  Why was this church so successful where most churches fail?  Was there one obvious reason?  Well, it was clear to me that the young people were WANTED!!!  Let's face it, young people are louder, messier, and more disruptive - they don't know how to act in church.  What's more, they bring with them a whole host of "issues."  But this country church was clearly DELIGHTED to welcome the disruptions, chaos, and problems that accompanies the young.  The church elders was that they were quite purposeful in their embrace of the young.  Their attitude seemed to be summed up in the phrase "Whatever it takes!" 

The older I get the more impressed I am with the power of desire.  More often than not what you really want, is what you get.  If a church really wants young people.  If a church is willing to pray their hearts out for them, set out the welcome mat for them, and accept them on their terms, success is likely.  Honestly I don't know many churches who really WANT to pay the price to reach teens and twenty somethings.  There is no secrete.  An old farmer once said to me "Hogs go where they are fed."  This is especially true when it comes to teens and twenty-somethings.  Set out a warm plate of freshly baked chocolate-chip cookies, cold milk, warms hearts, listening ears, and above all - relentless prayers in their behalf, and they will come.  A little country church in Dillsburg, PA can tell you all about it.

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