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Myths about Young Professionals: How old is too old?

I’m taking the first part of this week to share a message I gave last Thursday at the Summit’s Young Professionals gathering. The night was set aside to do 2 things. #1: get clarity on the mission we are called to, and #2: To deal with some of the “elephants in the room” when it comes to young professionals ministry. We used some pretty funny, creative videos to help ease into these topics. The most common “myth” we hear is:  “It’s a meet market” so that was Post #1 in this little mini series. #2 is “How old is too old” where we talk about the age range elephant. Here is the video we used to intro it

Logan Dagley, who I serve with in overseeing our young professionals, tackled this one. He then had a baby yesterday and I was unable to get his transcript. So below is my attempt at answering this myth. his notes will be posted as soon as I have them.

How old is too old? three quick thoughts

1.We are structuring around who we are here to reach. This is an important first word. We believe God has placed the Summit in this local area (Raleigh-Durham) to engage it with the gospel. We have not created a young professionals ministry just to fill up the calendars of some Summit people who were bored. Raleigh-Durham is annually listed in the top two or three areas in the country for a young professional to move into. Its a hub for first time jobs, for graduate students, and increasingly for long-term career location. Businesses are continuing to make their home here, and as they do, more and more will move to the area. We say around here that the church is not an audience, but an army. In this case, we believe there is warrant for a special “task force” in the Summit army to strategically engage a certain group: young professionals.

2. We are not as concerned with age as we are with life stage. The great thing about the word “Young Professional” is its ambiguity. That is intentional. If you are looking for an age cut-off, you are going to be hard pressed to find one. We want to be a ministry that equips people, where they are, to live and speak the gospel with confidence. That will look one way for a 22 yr old programmer, and another for a 33 yr old CEO, and different from both of those for the 29 yr old medical resident. So we hope to have strategic initiatives, in time, to engage those groups. But all of those are young professionals. Notice marital status does not apply. Ok, you want to know the age? here is my best attempt:

In their book UnChristian David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons identify 2 generations: Mosaics (born between 1984 & 2002) and Busters (born between 1965 & 1983). They then pretty much targeted the middle of these two for their research for an age range of 16-29. For the Summit’s context, we push that back a few years. Thriving high school and college ministries means the Young Professionals can target post college to somewhere in the mid 30s.

3. Every generation should be involved. Our hope is that men and women in older generations will leverage their life experience for discipling this younger generation. The church is designed by God to be a family. A family has moms & dads, grandpas, crazy uncles, and kids. I cannot tell you how many times a week we hear “I need a mentor, where should I go?” In the family metaphor, this is the teenager wondering where his parents, or older siblings, are. So we are going after people in all generations. By God’s grace, we already have one couple in their 50s as a part of our leadership team, and in time we hope many more.

Out of all of this, remember that the mission drives the strategy. And if I’m off on any of this, I’m sure Logan will correct me.


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