Recently, the Rt. Rev. Philip Jones led our clergy in considering the relationship between millennials and the church. As our member churches are diverse in geography and context, this discussion roused various creative and different ways of interacting with young adults within the church. Fr. Scott Davis of Grace Church in Fairhope, Alabama, shared his experience. He has enjoyed partnering with another church in his community–The Union–and their younger leaders and congregation:
This relationship with The Union and Grace Church began in January 2013, six months after the dream. Three-and-a-half years later, the pastor and I still meet for two hours every week. We would both tell you that it is the best two hours of our week. Not only have we become best friends (30 year age difference), but he has taught me more than I could ever have imagined, and I believe he would say the same thing. His intercessors meet with ours each Monday morning and intercede for both churches which are now considered as one even though they are two corporations. All our little kids had grown into high schoolers and we were feeling bad about ourselves since we had no young families. Then, The Union arrived, and the nursery and children’s chapel is full each Sunday night in our building. It may not be what we thought when we were praying for kids and young families but they are there weekly even though is technically not ‘our’ service.
I teach a Wednesday women’s Bible Study and one of their women is there every single week. I counsel a number of their parishioners and their pastor has counseled some of mine, especially with how to best approach millennial adult kids that my [many in our congregation] have and are struggling with. The pastor is at our 10am service every Sunday and has preached in my absence on a number of occasions. He is one of the brightest, most articulate young men I have ever encountered, and, as I said, I have learned quite a bit from him.
Both churches have become so close because the pastors are so close. The lines in ministry have become blurred because it is a Kingdom operation. Because it is a Kingdom experience, I am so grateful for it and am amazed that it all began with a prophetic dream. I might add that the young pastor’s prophetic gifting partially manifests itself through dreams and because of it, I have had to learn, via the Spirit, to interpret. Three-and-a-half years later, I am dreaming much more (his gifting) and he is interpreting far better than I ever could. I stand in amazement of how good God is.
God is willing to work through each one of us, wherever we are. Be encouraged, each of you reading this letter, to take heart, be strengthened in The Spirit of The Lord, and know that no matter how unusual the coming future for your church might be, if The Lord is in it, He will provide what you need.