Moving out of home can be a daunting time. Having been through the experience herself, Naomi Schultz is committed to encouraging other young Christians and believes congregational support is vital.
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I moved out of home in 2010 to study psychology at Ballarat, Victoria. I was 18, my family was two hours away, and I knew only three people there.
I joined the Lutheran Students and Friends (LSF) group at St John’s Lutheran Church and found a great connection to other people my age and a renewed love for studying God’s word. Then I changed courses to study counselling and moved to Adelaide.
In January 2014, I returned to Ballarat with my husband Tim. We attended worship but there was no longer an LSF group and not many people our age attended church regularly. Most of the young adults had finished study and moved away for work or were going home to visit their families on the weekends.
After a discussion with two pastors, Tim and I began a Bible study group.
For me, it was not just about getting young people involved in church, but also providing them with support and care, as I knew what it was like to live away from home.
During the first year, attendance varied between three and 10, and at times I wondered whether the group would grow. With prayer and encouragement from Tim and St John’s Pastor Adrian, we persisted, knowing it is the Holy Spirit who strengthens people in their faith – our role was simply to encourage them.
Now, two years later, I’m delighted that we have a regular group of six to eight people, who are now helping plan our fellowship events and have taken up church roles in music, Sunday school teaching and even church council!
It is important for young adults to be involved in the church community as it provides them with support as their faith grows in Christ’s forgiveness and grace.
The Holy Spirit is working in people’s hearts, and it is a privilege to be able to encourage and support them in their lives as God’s people.
How can the LCA engage more effectively with young people?
It is important for congregational members to embrace and welcome young adults, no longer as children, but as adults. This can be as simple as talking with them about their work, study or hobbies. It can extend to spending time in God’s word and recognising that each person has God-given talents they might wish to use in service.
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