For the up and coming generation of young adults -namely Millennials and Generation Z- in today's dynamic social climate, faith seems to become more and more often a skeptical topic. It becomes more difficult to find young individuals resilient in their faith, and the question becomes how can the Church strive to foster and build up "Resilient Disciples?"
Co-authors of the book Faith for Exiles David Kinnaman and Mark Matlock have devised several methods to inspire more resilient discipleship amongst young adults. And what they believe to be the basis for establishing a strong faith and spiritual relationship is connection.
In their book, Kinnaman and Matlock describe the "resilient disciple" as "Christians who (1) attend church at least monthly and engage with their church more than just attending worship services; (2) trust firmly in the authority of the Bible; (3) are committed to Jesus personally and affirm he was crucified and raised from the dead to conquer sin and death; and (4) express desire to transform the broader society as an outcome of their faith."
Based off of surveys and data collected from 18 to 29 year old christians, the co-authors have found the following data about resilient disciples:
88% feel as though "the church is a place where I feel I belong."
83% said they had "at least one close friend I trust with my secrets."
81% "had close personal friends who were adults" when growing up.
65% claimed "I feel valued by people in my life who are older than me."
83% say that as a part of their church community, they feel "loved and valued."
63% say they feel "relief from the anxiety of daily life."
From these findings, it becomes evident that to cultivate resilient disciples, the Church needs to create supportive and meaningful relationships that can lead to a strong relational network and sense of wholeness. Finally, Kinnaman and Matlock suggest "To assess how your church is actively promoting strong relationships, sit down with your staff and ask: How can we equip our leadership team and congregants alike to support the relational well-being of others, especially young people? How do we encourage congregants to make meaningful connections with others? What measures are in place for us to identify and assist those who are struggling to forge new friendships?"