More than 40 people attended a recent brainstorming session at Fox Valley Seventh-day Adventist Church to discuss possible initiatives for a young professionals’ ministry in Sydney.
This session was initiated by Tabitha Krznar-Radovanovic, a young adult in Greater Sydney Conference (GSC).
“I took a good look around at the current youth and young adults in our Conference and I realised how many were now missing,” said Ms Krznar-Radovanovic. “Some of the friends I had grown up with were no longer in church and had no intention of returning. When I asked why, the usual reasons were that church wasn’t relevant to them anymore, they were too tired from work and that they would rather attend events for successful professionals when they had time.”
This concerned Ms Krznar-Radovanovic. “If this generation leaves church, who will the future leaders of the church be?” she wondered. Ms Krznar-Radovanovic soon discovered she wasn’t alone in these concerns.
“GSC president Pastor Terry Johnson, GSC youth director Pastor Simon Gigliotti and Fox Valley’s associate pastor Landry Patti have been a phenomenal encouragement and support through this process,” said Ms Krznar-Radovanovic.
“We have an excellent ministry system in place with Adventurers (4-9 years old) and Pathfinders (10-16 years old) but we seem to struggle with the age group after that,” said Pastor Gigliotti. “While it’s true that young people are making key decisions between 4-14, the later years are also crucial. They are entering university/college, travelling or entering the workforce, even if only for a gap year. The strong foundation they had as high schoolers is often lost in these new spaces and other influences pull them away from the Church community and God.”
The brainstorming session was a chance for attendees to discuss what does and doesn’t work well in current youth ministry as well as opportunities to dream about what future initiatives would look like.
“I envision creating an Australia-wide network and hope to have a conference for young adult professionals one day,” said Ms Krznar-Radovanovic. “We’ve already reached out to people who might be interested in being part of the team. We miss the people who are no longer in church and we want them back. It’s time we step up and give them a place to network, make friends and re-encounter Jesus.”