Does a church’s views on sexuality alienate emerging adults?

Some research was released this week from the Pew Research Group regarding whether or not Americans believe that churches alienate young adults because of their beliefs on sexuality.

Here is the Link.  (You will have to scroll down to Section IV.)

When asked whether or not faith groups are driving away younger Americans because of intolerant views of gay and lesbian people, 50% of Americans said no.  When asked this same question in 2013, 58% of Americans said no.

The drop in this statistic could reveal the number of religious communities that are now more inclusive of the LGBT community.  The drop could also reflect how churches have become more nuanced, and aware of how to discuss these issues in the public square without causing offense.

Source: http://www.prri.org/research/lgbt-transgender-bathroom-discrimination-religious-liberty/

When the same question was asked to emerging adults (18-29 year olds), 60% of Millennials stated that churches are driving away younger Americans due to intolerance.  This number reflects a drop of 13% when compared to when this same question was asked in 2013.

 

Points for Consideration:

  • Emerging adults themselves are the best group to discuss this question, and I feel that their age group most accurately reflects the views of their generation.
  • Emerging adults who grow up within a community, and continues to share those same beliefs are less likely to feel these beliefs repel people their age (because those beliefs did not repel them).
  • These statistics do not show that changing your beliefs will cause more emerging adults to come racing to your church.  But they do reflect that these views, may become obstacles to new emerging adults joining your community.
  • Beliefs do matter.  The stance that your community takes (or refuses to take) on various issues does affect who will or will not walk through the doors of your building.
  • As emerging adults have become less tied to institutions, emerging adults may attend a church regardless of whether or not they agree with the church on a particular issue.  Emerging adults are not afraid to establish their own beliefs separate from the church. 

Although 60% is still extremely high, in regards to relating to and ministering to emerging adults, the positive news is that no group shifted in their perspective more positively than emerging adults.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources.  He is also the Founder of the EA Network, a group of individuals driven to minister to the needs of emerging adults.  If he can help your church minister to the needs of emerging adults, please contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

 

 

 

Processing Pain in Emerging Adulthood

Copyright 2016 EA Resources. Please contact for permission to use.

Throughout my life and ministry, I have observed people in various life stages (childhood, adolescence, emerging adulthood, adulthood) experience deep pain.  It is especially wrenching to see little children go through pain.  While some say that children are resilient to pain, could the limited reaction of children (their resilience) to pain be due to their ability to fully process it?  

Pain and suffering affect any individual’s development, regardless of their age; however, feelings aren’t always processed immediately when the tragedy occurs.  Painful events and trauma often circle back into our lives, especially while transitioning to new stages of development.  

As children grow and mature, we must understand that traumatic incidents will be processed at differing stages.  Let’s imagine that a young boy named Billy was a victim of physical abuse which happened when he was five years old.  A child might process this event at different ages based upon his cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual development; For example: (Please note: listed ages are relative.)  

At 4 – Dad hit me.  It hurt.  

At 8 – Dad hit me.  It hurt.  Dad was angry.  I am scared.  (The child has developed the ability to identify emotions within themselves and others.) 

At 12 – Dad hit me.  It hurt.  Dad was angry.  Dad doesn’t love me.  I am scared of Dad.  I am angry.  (The child developed the ability to recognize cause and effect, and abstract concepts.)

At 15 – Dad hit me.  It hurt.  Dad was angry.  Dad doesn’t love me.  I am scared of Dad.  I am angry.  I feel confused about my emotions and reactions towards my dad and mom.  My dad had other options.  My mother had other options.  God had other options.  I am angry at dad, at mom, and God.  (The adolescent developed the ability to connect experiences with spiritual beliefs, to use complex rationality, and to contemplate social relationships).

At 21 – Dad hit me.  How am I affected by my past?  How has my experienced shaped what I believe about myself and the world?  How will my past affect my current and future relationships with him and others?  (The emerging adults developed the ability to reflect on their past while developing their autonomy, and  establishing a social community.) 

During the transition to adulthood, pain can resurface.  Adolescents once trapped by family systems who either forced the child to avoid pain, or were the source of pain – are now freely able to process their childhood experiences.   

As the individual transitions towards adulthood, emerging adults seeking to establish their autonomy will begin the process of separating who they were in the past (or what had happened to them) into who they want to be as they make their own decisions.  As they process their past pain, emerging adults reflect how their experiences has shaped them, and how it will affect who they become.   

As emerging adults develop community, they make decisions as to how their past will affect their current and future relationships.  The ability to choose their social network allows them to make decisions concerning with whom they will continue relationships (even among family members).

As emerging adults discover vocation, pain can lead their vocational decisions as they seek healing from past trauma, or seek to heal others from the pain that they once experienced.  

Pain plays often a vital role in each fundamental task of adulthood shaping each individual according to God’s plan.  As those who minister to emerging adults, we must learn to ask good questions that will lead emerging adults to reflect on their past.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources, and the Founder of the EA Network.  If Dr. Boyd can help you and your community minister to the needs of emerging adults, you can contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.      

 

 

 

Fostering virtual faith: Building an online community

As the internet has become more apart of our lives, discussions have been around for years about the possibility of a virtual church.  Here is an article that speaks about a truly virtual church, and how it desires to reach out to Millennials.

The Rev. Sion Gough Hughes, pastor of a Protestant church in Melbourne, Australia, was surfing the web a couple years ago when he happened on a Facebook page that challenged his understanding of his calling. 

Continue reading

Running from Adulthood? Powerful Music Video by Ruth B

J. M. Barrie first used Peter Pan, the character who never wanted to grow up first appeared in The Little White Bird (1902) written by J.M. Barrie.  The character was based on J.M. Barrie’s older brother who died in a ice-skating accident.  The family considered him to be the boy who always remain the same age. 

As the series progressed, a division developed with Peter Pan running from Captain Hook and the pirates in Neverland.  The pirates of Neverland are the only adults, and represent growing older.  The Lost Boys are his tribe of friends who run from the pirates.

In this video from Ruth B., she describes the how she had one true friend as a child – Peter Pan.

Here is the link – please listen closely to the words. 

As a society, we must ask ourselves and emerging adults the following questions.

  • As adults, do we welcome them into adult communities?
  • How do older adults show care for emerging adults?
  • How do we portray adulthood?
  • Is adulthood something that emerging adults want to achieve?  Do they know how to achieve it?
  • How do adults describe the challenges and behavior of emerging adulthood?
  • How do adults show empathy and support for emerging adults?

These are great questions for any church or community that is seeking to become intergenerational.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources, and the Founder of the EA Network.  If he can help your community understand and minister to emerging adults, please contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

 

The Millennial Exodus in Scotland

The steady decline of Church of Scotland membership to some 360,000 persons is well documented. It is therefore no surprise that linkages, closures and reduction in number from the prevailing 46 presbyteries are envisaged. However, the main challenge is the alarming lack of young adults attending church. In many congregations perhaps 70 per cent will be 60 years of age and more. It is no longer one generation missing, but two. This is the emergency which must be addressed even before the present structure of presbyteries is considered. Continue reading

The Millennial Exodus and the Historic black church

I read an interesting article over the weekend, and I wanted to share with you.

Here is the Link.

Members of Jubilee Baptist worship during a recent

Photo: CINDY HOSEA/Staff

 

While the article is not based on solid research, it does have some interesting points.  Some that I do not agree with, and some that I do:

  1.  “Parents have a responsibility to tell their children, to make sure that church is not an elective. It is a must.”
  2. “They’re important to the life of the ministry; they’re the next generation.”
  3. “they don’t see the church as relevant and so as a result, there’s been a falling away.”
  4. “Leaders have to let youth know the church is still relevant.”
  5. “I think my generation’s parenting has not given that demand of youth going to church.”
  6. “Churches spend too much time trying to be all things to all people and trying to become wealthy megachurches.”

What comments from the list do you disagree with?

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to equip church and parents to meet the needs of emerging adults.

 

Preparing for Adolescence/Directions to Adulthood Seminars

I am excited about my double-header workshops for parents.  Both workshops tie into my parental E-VAC Plan (or how to one day get them to evacuate!)  The E-VAC plan focuses on the three developmental tasks of adulthood:  Vocation, Autonomy, and Community.

 

These seminars are designed for parents of children, adolescents, and emerging adults, who want to understand more about human development, and how to prepare their children for the Journey Ahead.

Here are the workshop descriptions:

Preparing for Adolescence:

We will examine the facts and fables of human adolescence.  You will gain an understanding of the developmental characteristics of adolescents and discuss how to equip them for adulthood.  We will discuss practical methods of impacting your child’s spiritual development that will give them a faith that will stick beyond high school.  You will walk away feeling equipped and encouraged in your own journey as a parent.       

Directions to Adulthood – Preparing them for the Journey Ahead

Why does it seem that adolescents are taking longer to grow up?  We will examine the causes of delayed development, and solutions being proposed.  We will examine the biblical basis of adulthood, and how parents can help adolescents successfully move forward.  This seminar will help you better understand your children, and encourage you during this new phase of parenting.      

If you are interested in having Dr. Boyd come and speak to your community, please contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

Theology on Tap – To Drink or Not to Drink

While hosting a Theology on Tap ministry may or may not fit your church context, here is an article that discusses how one church has found a way to connect with emerging adults.  It also provides an introduction that all churches must answer regarding how to approach drinking alcohol among emerging adults.

EFFINGHAM — Glasses filled with wine and other alcoholic beverages were scattered atop a dimly lit table in Village Wine in Effingham. It’s an unsuspecting setting for prayer and religious discussion, but that’s what happened there on Jan. 19.

And it’s what happens there every third Thursday of the month for “Theology on Tap” meetings. The gatherings bring religion to young people in a relaxed environment.

Click Here for the entire article.

Scroll down for highlights.

Theology on Tap

Here are some highlights of the article:

  • “It’s a way to meet other young adults without needing the party scene,”  Highlights Emerging Adults need for Community
  • “Too many people don’t see the beauty in them,” she said. “The potential in them. The mystery.”
  • “Theology on Tap is something a lot of churches around the world have adapted to reach young people. It brings people together in a responsible way.”

If you work with emerging adults, you will be working alongside both adolescents (who cannot legally drink) and those over the legal drinking age.  As a ministry you will be challenged to establish policy and practices on what role drinking can have within your community.

Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you lead your community:

  • How can we allow autonomy among emerging adults concerning this issue?
  • What role(s) can drinking alcohol play in our community?
  • Does your religious community have any policies regarding this issue among other adults?
  • How do we identify when drinking as a group or for an individual might need addressed?
  • Does your religious community have a policy regarding this issue among adolescents?  How should it be the same?  How should it be different?
  • Is there a difference in policy and practice from when a gathering is attending/organized directly by a church representative than when community members organize their own outings?
  • What values are driving our decisions?

I am sure there are more questions, please share your thoughts/questions below.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to equip parents and the church to minister to the needs of emerging adults.

 

 

They are not “College Kids”

Copyright by Aaron Roberts Photography

I recently read this piece online, and wanted to share it with my readers.  Enjoy!

College Kids!

That phrase has come to evoke a nearly visceral response from me. When I hear it, I bite my tongue and muster all my strength to keep my eyes from rolling back in my head. (And then I have to repent of my pride and judgementalism.)

You see, thinking of college students as “kids” is one of the greatest barriers to effective collegiate ministry. College students are physically and legally adults in most cases. Calling students “kids” only gives them permission to indulge in juvenile behaviors and gives you permission not to take them seriously. And that’s just the thing…

Read the entire article Here!

Here are some practical ways that you can stop treating emerging adults like kids.

Collegiate Collective Collegiate Collective is working to elevate and advance the gospel on all college campuses globally by equipping, resourcing, and networking the leaders who are engaged in or interested in reaching students.

The author Chase Abner is the Lead Church Planting Catalyst in Iowa with the North American Mission Board and a consultant with the Salt Network in Ames, IA.