Changing the World Through Young Adults

2016 RightNow Conference


Millennials remain a mystery to many church leaders. It can be easy to dismiss these young adults as selfish, entitled, and lazy without considering how God might use them as a force for His Kingdom. In this 40-minute video from the 2016 RightNow Conference, Jonathan Pokluda reminds us that when we invest in millennials, we invest in the future of the church, and impact the world for Christ.


Jonathan “JP” Pokluda is the Dallas Campus Pastor of Watermark Community Church and leader of The Porch, an influential young adult gathering of more than 3,500 in Dallas, Texas. At The Porch, thousands of young adults come hear the gospel, get equipped and are unleashed for kingdom purposes. JP's passion is to share the Gospel with anyone who will listen and equip others to do the same. He also feels called to challenge Christians to multiply their faith by discipling others. He and his wife, Monica, have three children.


As you watch this session, take notes and write down thoughts about how this session can impact your ministry. 



Millennials—young adults between the ages of 19 and 35—can be a mystery. However, there is great potential for God to work through this generation for the spread of His Kingdom. 

What is your current attitude toward millennials? Do you find yourself puzzled by, frustrated at, or impatient with young adults? Why is this your attitude?
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How is your church currently reaching millennials? Is this an effective area of ministry? Would you hope to see more fruit? What might be hindering your current outreach to the next generation?
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In a culture where social media and appearance-driven values influence us, millennials often live their lives with an attitude of “Look at me! Look at me! Look at me!” Like Jonathan challenged, we must point millennials’ eyes from themselves to Jesus, so they are compelled to put that energy into saying, “Look at Jesus! Look at Jesus! Look at Jesus!” Lights don’t shine to be seen. They shine to point the way.

In what specific ways do you see a self-focus among the millennials in your ministry? How could you begin to encourage that focus toward Jesus?
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2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV)

9But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.



In 2 Corinthians, the Apostle Paul delights in his weakness. As Jonathan put it, “When dependence upon God is my goal, weakness is my advantage.” 


One way Jonathan encouraged pastors to lead their millennials is through authenticity. He shared a story about confessing his sin from the pulpit, and the resulting opportunity to minister to many young people. Millennials crave authenticity. 

What type of chord does this strike in you? Are you open to walking in this kind of vulnerability with millennials? Do you feel the need to have a false appearance of holiness? Why?
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Many pastors try to alter themselves to fit this authentic image. However, what is needed is you to be fully yourself, not someone else. In what ways are you projecting a false image or hiding who you truly are? How might this be hindering your ministry with millennials?
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If we are not willing to be honest, vulnerable, and real about our own brokenness, we will not reach this generation of millennials. 


Jonathan also encouraged us to expand young adults' vision. Millennials desire to contribute to something larger than themselves. When we diminish the Christian walk to a mere weekend gathering, we are robbing it of its exhilarating power, and missing out on being part of the greatest cause in all of history—the redemption of the world. 

Jonathan shared how his young adult ministry calls millennials to a bi-vocational life and encourages them to play the role of pastor in the situations in which they find themselves. How are you casting a massive vision and calling millennials to lay down their lives for the sake of Christ?
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When the Church offers true discipleship, accountability, and commitment, millennials buy in. Are you truly discipling this next generation? How are you offering discipleship and commitment?
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Jonathan advised taking a young adult along with you on meetings and into difficult conversations and ministry opportunities. This way, the young adult has hands-on training, learns how to “be a pastor” in the situation, and can then implement that knowledge into future situations. 

Are you currently following this model? Who is one young adult you can begin to bring along and disciple in this way?
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Jesus could have chosen anyone to go with him in his ministry. Remarkably, he chose 12 young adults. We must pour into the young adults in our lives to equip them to carry on the work of Christ. God will use millennials as a powerful force for His Kingdom. 


For more information about the RightNow Conference or to find out how to attend next year’s event, visit rightnowconference.org.