A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Showing posts with label Young Adults. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Young Adults. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Conversation about Ministry with Young Adults

Yesterday, I had lunch with a lay member of a church who has a passion for ministering to young adults, particularly twenty year olds. He just turned 50 and it was exciting for me to see just how important this ministry is for him.

Here are some gems that I received from our conversation regarding reaching young adults through the church:
  • First of all, his passion was very evident, partly because he has two daughters who are now in their 20's and he knows how important it is for the church to include this vital generation.
  • Here's an example of a ministry that would probably work: Have a coffee hangout time for twenty year olds with some music and conversation on a Friday evening. On Saturday morning, offer an opportunity to be involved in a hands on ministry outreach in the community.
  • This relates to the above point, but don't simply focus on invitations to Sunday morning worship. Help young adults to gather in more casual settings with outreach offerings.
  • Be open to hosting "spontaneous" gatherings of young adults. We need to be flexible and look for those opportunities. My friend shared how some friends of his daughter were in town visiting and they invited them to their house for dinner and conversation.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Emerging Adults Faith Transition Trends

A big thanks to Scot McKnight for his summary of the excellent book, "Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults" by Christian Smith and Patricia Snell.

This book and Scot's summary back up some of the information we heard from Chap Clark, professor of Youth, Family, & Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary, who led a seminar at our church on the same topic. His point was that adolescence is now a much longer process for most young people lasting from age 13 to the mid 20s. It used to be a shorter period concluding around age 18.

This book by Smith and Snell offers reasons why faith for emerging adults can be a difficult time of transition. Here are those reasons.

First, disruptions in life negatively impact religious commitment.

Second, distractions in life negatively impact religious practices.

Third, personal and psychological differentiation (separation from parents) negatively impact religious commitments.

Fourth, postponed family formation and childrearing retard religious commitment.

Fifth, keeping one's options open creates obstacles to making religious commitments.

Sixth, the code of honoring diversity hampers religious commitment.

Seventh, the self-confidence and self-sufficiency, which are vital codes for emerging adults, negatively impacts religious commitments.

Eighth, self-evident morality prevents the need for religious authorities encoding morals.

Ninth, partying, hooking up, having sex and cohabitating block connection to religious groups.

Two other important findings from the book:

First, religion is a resource for stability and recovery

Second, ongoing relations with parents, at least those who are believers, can sustain a connection with faith.

What can the church do to address these trends that emerging adults are facing with regard to their faith development? I'd especially like to hear from our young adults.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Check Out "Christian Young Professionals" Ministry at a United Methodist Church

My good friend, Ed Zeiders, Sr. Pastor at St. Paul's UMC in State College, PA shared with me about a ministry of Christian Young Professionals. It's specifically for 20 to 40 year olds who want to grow in their faith and make a difference in their community for Jesus Christ.

And no, I'm not posting this only because this church is located just off the campus of Penn State. OK, maybe there's a little something to it, but it's more about the ministry. :)

What a joy to see this age segment taking an active part in the life of the church, especially when many mainline churches are seeing a decline of this age segment.
I am so thankful for the christian young professionals who are active here at Lancaster First UMC!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hanging around Young Adult Methodists

Last night, I met with a young adult couple during our Wednesday Common Cup program. They will be getting married later this year. Like many young adults I encounter, they are open to growing in their faith and they offer important perspectives about faith and life.

One of the ways that our church is opening itself up to hearing from our young adults is by having one of our own young adult members, Adam Leopard, (Asbury College) come to serve as a student ministry intern in partnership with us this summer. Adam has a passion for graphic designs, youth ministry, media, and discipleship formation.

Several of our young adults are students in colleges where they are active in campus ministries and growing in their faith. They are learning what it means to be involved in intentional faith-sharing small groups and several of them are being trained to become leaders of ministry groups.

Because young adults are such an important part of our congregation, I want to dedicate articles on this web blog to what our young adults can teach us and to hear what the United Methodist Church is doing to reach out to our young adults.

I've asked some of our young adults to participate in an e-mail forum with me on a weekly basis. If you are a young adult and want to be part of this e-mail discussion group, send your e-mail address to PastorRobert@fcum.org.

One of the ways that young adults are visible in our congregation is through our Sunday morning contemporary worship service. Almost all of the praise team members are young adults. I've been to a number of contemporary worship services in difference churches and many of their praise teams are middle-age with only a few young adults. I'm proud that our church has such a visible ministry of young adults. This is just one example.

Last night, the young adult couple I was with shared that one of their favorite scriptures is Ephesians 4:14-21 (great passage by the way!) which was written by the Apostle Paul. As I think about the importance of hearing from our young adults, I am reminded how the Apostle Paul stayed in touch with young adults like Timothy and how they grew together as disciples of Jesus Christ.

And so, to all our young adults out there...know that the church cares about you and wants to learn from you in what it means to be growing disciples of Jesus Christ. You have a lot to offer 40 plus year olds like myself!