Growing Young: an Essential Book for All Church Leaders

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Is your church having a difficult time growing in the younger generations?  Are you frustrated at how youth and young adults are experiencing church but not sure where to start to fix it?  Are you uncertain as to how you can asses whether or not your church is doing effective ministry with younger people that will help the church continue to equip the next generation of disciples after they finish youth ministry?

The beginning to finding answers to all of that is found in the 2016 resource Growing Young from the Fuller Youth Institute. This books is based on solid, scientific research into what is working in churches that are succeeding at growing in the younger demographics.  As  Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin dug into the ministries of those churches, they uncovered six essential strategies that  helped young people discover and love church.  

Let me give you an example.  One of the strategies is something they call “Unlocking Keychain Leadership.”  In decades past, younger people were given both literal and figurative keys to the church.  They were entrusted with real responsibility and allowed to take on significant areas of ministry. In general, that is not the case today.  Far too often church leaders are holding onto the keys of leadership as they age and refusing to pass that keychain down to the younger generation.  

However, churches that are succeeding at growing young are reclaiming that old tradition of passing the keys down to younger generations.  As they do that, they see ministry transformed and young people stepping up to the plate.  If your church wants to grow young, they are going to need to take hold of this practice and celebrate the leadership of younger generations.

This is an essential book for every church leader to read at this point as all the membership research shows a general downward trend in membership among younger generations.  To help you get a better overview before diving into the book check out this six-part blog series Young People Ministries produced to introduce you to this groundbreaking work.  Then, make sure you buy a copy for all your church staff to read together… this is the Christmas gift that could change your church and seriously impact the next generation.

When he's not with his four children and wonderful wife, Jeremy Steele is a teaching pastor at Christ United Methodist Church in Mobile, Alabama. He is passionate about engaging people with the movement of God and speaks across the US. He's also the author of Reclaiming the Lost Soul of Youth Ministry. For more about his other books, articles, and resources, see

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