The language of today's young adults is music. Churches that understand this new language will be able to effectively reach young adults. Many churches falsely think that if they just add drums or guitars to their worship services then they will automatically reach young people. While it is true that most young adults prefer music that is more upbeat than traditional Sunday morning hymns, just speeding up the tempo alone will not keep them coming to church.
The secret to communicating to young adults through music is to understand that young adults use music to express their emotions and communicate with those around them. They sing about their experiences and how those experiences make them feel. Young adults use music to communicate how they feel about themselves, other people, politics, nature, and even spiritual matters.
When it comes to spiritual matters, young adults prefer music that allows them to talk "to" God instead of just "about" God. Though they may prefer the music to be upbeat, what is more important to them is that the music is filled with spiritual passion. They want their music to be a conversation with the Living God, not just state theological facts about God. Those who think that modern Christian music is shallow fail to grasp the depth of adoration for God that wells up from deep within young Christian adults when they sing and play music to the Lord. Skeptics of modern Christian music run the risk of following the poor example of Micah, the wife of David, who despised his passion for worshipping the Lord in 2 Samuel 6.
Regardless of how comfortable we may be with our own religious traditions of the past, churches that desire to reach today's young adults must come to terms with the reality that music is a key factor in reaching them. If churches can learn to speak the same musical language as these young adults, we may be surprised just how many young adults will become committed to the church.