Justin Kaszowski is a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Warren. He is the chairperson of the parish council, a lector, a Eucharistic minister and a regular attendee with his wife of the 4 p.m. Mass on Saturdays. He also is the chairperson of the church's 175th anniversary celebration being held today.
Kaszowski is only 28.
Pastor Nate Ortiz, 26, leads Fusion, a weekly service for the young people in the area at Victory Christian Center at Coitsville.
He said recently a young man Googled the church, came to an event and said he needed someone to pray for him. His fiance had left him and took all his money, and he had a smoking habit he was trying to quit. Now the man is coming to church regularly.
"We just come together. We look to build relationships and pursue God," Ortiz said. "It's a transitional period in our lives - working full-time, going to school full-time, getting married."
Ortiz said about 60 people age 30 and younger come to the service on Tuesdays. The group holds other events such as cookouts, laid back gatherings where Ortiz said people can invite their friends to hang out and show the love of Christ.
According to a survey conducted by LifeWay Research and the Center for Missional research at the North American Mission Board, 63 percent of young adults said they would attend church if it presented truth to them in an understandable way "that relates to my life now."
Although they may not be attending church, they do consider themselves spiritual because they want to know more about God or a higher being.
Ortiz said typically young adults already have their mind made up about church, and so the church has to work past that stereotype.
"Sometimes we're just known for what we don't like," he said. "We try to let them know what we're for."
And what's that? "Lovin' on people."
Believers Christian Fellowship in Warren offers the Catalyst, "a group of college/career age young adults with a heart to serve God at the highest level," according to its website.
Anne Bacorn, who coordinates small groups called Connect Groups at the church, said the young adults have "adopted" Jefferson Elementary, take part in the church's garage sale and also sign up for some of the Bible studies.
"We do some outreach projects, which seems to be thing that draws them the most," she said.
Pastor Jeff Dennis was a youth pastor for 24 years. He said he's seen young people come through the church, then fall away and come back again.
At Open Door Community Church, where he served, Dennis said young adults got involved with ministries in the church like food and clothing giveaways.
"You always gotta have a little bit of fun and games with them," Dennis said. He said young adults were also involved with the youth, sharing what they went through at that age.
"They would go to games, other events. Really and truly to me that's the key - building relationships," he said. "They miss them. They miss those people."
Now the senior pastor of First Christian Assembly, which opened in January, Dennis said he's just now starting with college age people with a couple students from Youngstown State.
"Back in the day, that was one of the things that kept me going," said Dennis, who is 49, "and coming back each week was building those relationships with people in the church that helped me."
Dennis said the return to church comes especially when young people are about to start a family, but there are a few that just miss the relationships they built.
"There's an emptiness that they have inside of them. It's refreshing for them," he said. "It's almost like they want to do things right."
Does it matter if it's a "mega" church with great graphics and podcasts or a small community church? Dennis says it's split.
"There are a handful, they will go to a bigger church and get lost," he said. "Then there are are those that go because there are a lot more resources at their disposal."
Ortiz said people who attend Fusion have "a ton of different background stories, but they get plugged in and God changes their lives. Some have to come out of their shell."
Kaszowski said he thinks there should be more people his age involved in the church.
"With our age they go because they have to, not because they want to," he said.
The Diocese of Youngstown is offering YAMS - Young Adult Mass and Social. An event will be held Oct. 2 at the Kent State University Parish Newman Center, beginning with Mass and followed by a Fallfest Celebration.
All young adults ages 19 to 40 are invited.
Previous events have been held at St. Charles Church in Boardman and Blessed Sacrament in Warren.
Kaszowski knows he's a little different.
"I was brought up the old-school way," he said. "I was raised by my grandparents, so I've always been active in the church."
When he was a student at the Cincinnati Mortuary School, he belonged to a church near there, as well.
"I probably would've become a priest if I didn't get married," he said.