June 11, 2012
Setting an example for emerging adults
Today our newest Practical Ministry Skills resource, Meaningful Groups for Emerging Adults, was released, and I'm very excited about it. I'm excited because (1)I'm passionate about the life stage known as emerging adulthood and (2)there are very few resources for ministering to this life stage. This resource isn't simply looking at a new generation; it's looking at an entirely new life stage. And it will help you understand the needs and tasks of emerging adults and how small groups can minister to 18- to 30-year-olds.
Included in our resource is an interview with Wheaton College professor David Setran. He explains how this new life stage came about and how the life stage is defined. He also shares how people in this life stage are formed spiritually, and hones in on the need for mentoring:
SmallGroups.com: What helps to spiritually form emerging adults? I think mentoring in particular is critical for their spiritual formation. They need older adults who can serve as guides as they move from adolescence to adulthood in such a way that they feel excited about the prospect of becoming an adult. One of the things I have found in my research is that adulthood is something to be held at arm's length, to be resisted at all costs. A lot of emerging adults see adulthood as this time when all excitement is lost, all freedom is lost, and everything becomes routine and static. They desperately need mentors that demonstrate life doesn't end when you become an adult. They need to see lives that are well-lived for the kingdom, that demonstrate to them that this is the beginning of something really exciting.
Mentors for emerging adults need to realize they don't need to tell them what to do, what to think, and how to live. Emerging adults are trying to form their own voice, and mentors can nurture, develop, and encourage that voice. The mentor should be someone who's going to walk alongside them. And, to be honest, I have found that emerging adults are really seeking mentors. A lot of times older adults actually feel intimidated to take on a role like that because they feel outdated or don't feel they understand youth culture, but that's exactly what emerging adults need—to see what life on the other side looks like and how to live that life well.
That's a convicting call for adults in the church!
Exactly! With the fragmentation of the family and shifts in culture, a lot of emerging adults haven’t really seen that modeled for them. So it would be great to see that in the church, in all the different stages of life. It's an urgent call.
Emerging adults need to see that older adults are living lives well-lived for the kingdom. They need to know that adulthood doesn't mean they will just sit quietly in the pews, letting the younger people go on adventures with God. They need to see that God uses us all in radical ways throughout our lives. Are you living a compelling, well-lived life? What picture of adulthood are you painting for emerging adults?
To find out more about ministering to emerging adults through small groups, click here.
How does your church minister to emerging adults? What mentoring experiences have you had with emerging adults? Share with us below.
posted by Amy Jackson on June 11, 2012 8:54 AM