Growing Young Series 6 of 6: Taking Jesus’ Message Seriously

By Chris Wilterdink

In late 2016, a team from Fuller Youth Institute published Growing Young: 6 Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church. That book is accompanied by several free resources that can be accessed here.

Through their research, Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, and Brad Griffin identified six things that churches who engage in meaningful ministry with young people do well. This series will briefly identify each of the six strategies and share a story of a place in the United Methodist connection doing that strategy well.


Relationship is at the center of all Christian communities; a relationship with God through Christ. Relationships with fellow Christians, searchers, and outcasts…those familiar and unfamiliar alike. Social media has allowed these relationships to easily last beyond contact in the teenage years at church. I remain connected to many youth and family members whom I served through ministry at the local church. One of the gifts of enough time in ministry is watching youth grow and mature into adults. Upon finishing Growing Young, I reached out to several of my now-grown youth, to ask two questions: