3 Tips for Finding Community

Finding community can be just as arduous a journey as finding Nemo. Especially if you forget people’s names like Dory or cling to your comfort zone like Marlin. Movie metaphors aside, finding community when you’re in a new place requires genuine commitment to the journey.

Especially as an introvert, when I first visit a new church, organization, or other community, I want nothing more than to hide in the back. But lately—much to my surprise—God’s drawn me deeply into community nonetheless. When I reflect on how in the world this has happened, I realize my foray into fellowship came about in roughly three stages.

1. Show up.

Erin S. Lane, author of Lessons in Belonging from a Church-Going Commitment Phobe, writes that “finding a place to belong seems to depend more on my ability to show up—often and fully—than it does on what happens when I get there. That stuff is important, but that stuff I can’t control.”

Showing up sounds simple—and it is. But it’s also powerful. Choose a community that you could see possibly being part of, and then commit to showing up three-to-four weeks in a row. Through faithful attendance, people will begin to recognize you and you’ll begin to recognize them. People will start to consider you part of the community simply because you’re always there. And maybe you’ll start to consider yourself part of the community too.

2. Speak up.

Check the community’s website or Facebook page if they have one, and then email a pastor, small group leader, or other community leader. Chances are they don’t bite. On the contrary, they’d likely love to grab a bite to eat or cup of coffee with you and discuss how you might get plugged into the community.

In addition, if there’s a question asked in Sunday school, speak up and answer it. If there’s a need for volunteers at the community’s upcoming bake sale, speak up and do it. If there’s a group of people you even somewhat know discussing going to lunch after the meeting, speak up and ask if you could join them. This doesn’t have to involve being in the spotlight at all; it could look like tapping someone on the shoulder and speaking up in a one-on-one or small group context.

3. Keep it up.

After a few months of showing up and speaking up in a recent community, I drove home from a Wednesday night social for the umpteenth time thinking in frustration: “They still don’t know me. Not really.” It’s tempting to compare a current, in-progress community to the remembered intimacy of a past community. But these things take time.

At that few-months mark, a dear friend from college reminded me: “Remember how we were after a few months of friendship? I wouldn’t even let you share my French fries!” (“You’re also a huge germophobe,” I reminded her.)

“Keep it up,” she said. “Keep it up.”

And the Bible says something similar: “Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

For more thoughts on finding community, check out these books on the subject:

 This post originally appeared on intervarsity.org.

View More: http://kristianewebb.pass.us/julia-headshotsJulia Powers is Blog Developer at EA Resources. A writer and seminary student at Duke Divinity School, Julia enjoys contributing an emerging adult voice to EA Resources and blogging at her own site www.juliapowersblog.com.

How Evangelicals are Losing an Entire Generation – by Amy Gannett

I want to share this article because I have seen many Millennials who love the church, and work within it say a hearty “Amen” to what the article states.

Do not let your political bias, turn you off from what the writer is stating.  This is not a post that is intended to change votes.  It is a post that is intended to change Evangelicalism.

Here is the entire article, and find out why.

8DU3KE91FPThis morning I want to throw in the towel.

The morning hustle began as it always does on Friday mornings. I walked the dog, drank the coffee, cleaned the kitchen, and headed for the shower. My phone in my hand, I checked Twitter (you know, because I’m current and all). Usually, my Twitter feed is a conglomeration of Trinitarian debates, quotes by dead theologians, and cute dog pictures. But not this morning. This morning, I had no more than opened the app on my phone and there it was: Wayne Gruedem’s endorsement of Donald Trump. Continue reading

5 Things I’m Reminding My Anxious Mind This School Year

I graduated college three years ago, having received a bachelor’s degree, a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder, a couple rounds of counseling, and some initial practice at stress management. Now, as a slightly more mature yet still meandering 20-something, I am excitedly and anxiously returning to school for a master’s degree — far away from home, no less. During this season of transitions for so many young people, I am reminding my mind of the unique stresses — and unique resources — that exist for students with reminders like this:

 

1. Don’t leave your coping strategies at home. Identify maybe two to three coping strategies that have worked for you already — strategies you may have practiced over the summer — and keep them going as much as possible as you start school. Continuing some of your routines can be an absolute anchor for the soul. For me, this might look like prayer in the morning, deep breaths in the afternoon when my day is getting overwhelming, and a practice of gratitude around bedtime. I’d like to include going for a run, but realistically I have a love/hate relationship with exercise (which tends toward more “hate” than “love”)! For you, this can and should look like whatever simple, manageable practices work for you.

2. Investigate options for mental health care even before you arrive on campus. Check the resources provided by your school’s counseling center, health center and dean’s office. Sometimes schools also have student-run organizations like Active Minds and TWLOHA UChapters. If you think on-campus resources may not be the best fit for you, try asking for referrals and perusing Psychology Today’s therapist directory (which also includes listings of psychiatrists, support groups, and treatment facilities).

3. Don’t hide. When I feel anxious, all I want to do is curl up in bed in the fetal position — especially if I’m in a new place where I’m not sure who to reach out to for help. Curling up in bed is all right sometimes, but don’t let that be your only response to anxiety. Balance out that hour in isolation with an hour in counseling. Call up a friend. If you live in a dorm, knock on your resident assistant’s door. I promise there are good, good people around you willing to help, even if you don’t yet know who they are.

4. Try not to give in to “stress pressure.” This is like peer pressure, but it’s the particular pressure that can happen in school settings which pressures students to act stressed. Stress pressure suggests that when someone asks “Hey, how are you?” it’s somehow “cool” to say “I’m tired” or “I’m busy.” It’s somehow cool to pull all-nighters, chug coffee or energy drinks, and compare how many assignments you have due this week. But here’s what I’m reminding my anxious mind: It’s 100 percent cool to sleep, sip tea or water, and do your school work to the best of your ability without comparing it to others.

5. Practice self-acceptance. This might mean acceptance of getting an occasional B or C or F on a test. This might mean acceptance of (and even asking for) an extension on an assignment; professors will often outline policies for “grace days” on their course syllabi and review said policies on the first day of class, so pay attention to this and don’t be ashamed to use it. Above all, this means acceptance of who you are — the strong, smart, capable yet not-capable-of-everything human that you are.

I wonder: What would you put on this list? If you are a student (or work with students), what do you need to remind your anxious mind? Give yourself these reminders early and often, giving yourself grace now and throughout the school year.

This post originally appeared on themighty.com.

View More: http://kristianewebb.pass.us/julia-headshotsJulia Powers is Blog Developer at EA Resources. A writer and seminary student at Duke Divinity School, Julia enjoys contributing an emerging adult voice to EA Resources and blogging at her own site www.juliapowersblog.com.

Bethel University – Directions to Adulthood

This fall, I am excited to be working with Bethel University to provide encouragement and resources to parents during Family Weekend – 2016.  I am thankful for the staff at Bethel University who realize that our world has changed, and therefore both emerging adults and their parents need to be prepared for the journey ahead into adulthood.

Here is the seminar description:

“Directions to Adulthood – Preparing Your Young Adult for the Journey Ahead” 

Blank Road SignWhy does it seem that today’s adolescents are taking longer to grow up? Are millennials selfish, delusional unicorns, or are there other factors affecting their development? This seminar will explore the causes and proposed solutions of delayed development while providing an understanding of emerging adulthood (18-25 age group). We will examine the biblical basis of adulthood, and how parents can support their children during this critical transition. Boyd believes this seminar will help you better understand your children, and encourage you during this new phase of parenting. This seminar is free, but pre-registration is required. Space is limited.

Here is a link to Bethel’s Event.

The goal of EA Resources is to equip parents and churches to understand Emerging Adults.  I hope that more Universities and Communities will follow their lead, and realize that “The Times They Are A-Changin'” (Bob Dylan).

Please contact me at gdavid@earesources.org if you would like me to present at your community.

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.  He is also the Founder of the EA Network, a group designed to share ministry theology, resources, and practical tips.

Making College Affordable – Website Resource

Chowing Down on the Cheap

College Affordability is a website filled with financial tips and tools to help you save money.  The website recently posted this article on saving money on food expenses at college.

Unhealthy fat man trying to eat one more pizza partI save the least important subject of the site for last. You will always have a food budget, and eating right costs good money. In terms of its toll on health and wellness, cheap food is rarely worth the price. That said, you can eat well and save money as a student if you forego the more common options presented to you. Let’s dive into some of the food options and plans distinct to the college experience.

Continue reading

Formation with Young Adults: How Churches Reach 20s & 30s

The Challenges of Reaching Young Adults

Girl Young adultAt the developmental margins by definition, the in-betweeness of young adults is a huge part of why congregations are so flummoxed about them. Churches have long served children, youth, parents, empty-nesters, and elders. But emerging adults are a special kind of moving target, no longer youth but not quite adults.

You can check out the article HERE.

Highlight of the Article:

How can churches meet twenty- and thirty-somethings where they are developmentally, supporting them in their transitions without condescension?  Supporting emerging adults in their transition into adulthood will cause us to be relevant and crucial to their lives.  It begins with knowing the characteristics of emerging adults, and knowing the challenges that they face.  Here are some resources to help you understand emerging adults.

Your community’s list might be different depending on your tradition, your gifts, and your theological commitments. But you can help the people you serve make their meandering way through that territory over time.  Has your community discussed the essentials of your faith tradition, and how they affect your expectations on emerging adults?  Here is a list of questions to help your community.

If we’re serious about forming faith that will continue to sustain young adults as they age, we have to trust that the Christian spiritual tradition has much to offer. We need to give it a chance to do its work, by the power of the Holy Spirit.  The reason I like this sentence is because it acknowledges that fact that spiritual formation takes time.  Programs and mentors cannot speed up the work that God is doing in their lives.  For a great book on coming alongside God in the work that He is doing, check out this link.

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources.  He is also the Founder of the EA Network, a network of those who seek to understand and meet the needs of emerging adults.

 

 

 

‘Drunkorexia’ Prevalent Among College Students, Study Finds

What is ‘Drunkorexia’?

How is it affecting the lives of emerging adults?

Check out this article to the discover the answers.

Here are some notes from the article:

1.    A survey of 1,184 of them found that during the previous three months, 80 percent had engaged in at least one of the following drunkorexic behaviors.  While they do mention research, I would like to know more about this research.  The behaviors listed in which 80% are participating could be mild or more severe.  For example, the third behavior could refer to cutting back on calories simply because you know you will be drinking.  I know many people who do this regularly, but it is not at an unhealthy level.

2.  The second behavior in the research links this behavior to eating disorders.  Eating disorders are common on college campuses.  Here are some articles on that topic:

3.  The article states that one way to solve this problem is education.  Emerging adults and parents need education about alcohol.  One important fact to know is that not everyone is participating in the drinking scene.  “They always think that everyone else is drinking more than they are,” she said. “And while 40 percent are engaging in heavy drinking, there are 60 percent who are not. In fact, there are 20 percent who are abstaining.”

David - Prof 2EA Resources seeks to promote research among emerging adults, and educate parents and churches about the lives of emerging adults.  If we can help your community learn how to minister to emerging adults, contact Dr. Boyd.

 

 

Four Myths About College You Should Reject – Tim Elmore

photo credit: ISC Orientation Week 2nd Meeting Fall 2011 via photopin (license)

I found an interesting article by Tim Elmore.  I think that it is a great read for both parents and emerging adults.

Here is a link to the full article!

Myth One: You Must Attend That Big Name College.

Myth Two: A College Degree Is Always a Good Investment.

Myth Three: A College Loan Is the Best Way to Pay for My Degree.

Myth Four: You Must Have a Bachelor’s Degree to Earn a Middle-class Salary.

One other myth about college… read here.

 

 

The Faith of Emerging Adults – by Christian Smith

I found this resource, and wanted to share it with my readers.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Robert Photography. Copyright 2016. www.aaronrobertphotography.com

What are some of the specific issues that this new life phase might raise for church and culture? First, we might consider the content and texture of the religious faith of emerging adults. Having grown up in whatever religious traditions, congregations, and families of faith they have, and having participated in whatever youth groups and Sunday School and catechism classes they have, what then becomes of the religious faith of youth ages 18 to 30? Some have referred to this life stage as a mysterious “black hole” in the life of the American church. Quite a dramatic idea. Does research bear it out?

Read the entire article.

The article is written Christian Smith who is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at the University of Notre Dame, and the co-author of Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults.

I like the article because it does not reflect necessary on Millennials, but focuses on the life stage of emerging adulthood, and how this phase of life affects their faith.  My favorite quote from the article:

1.  “The church has an opportunity to help emerging adults work through these issues, but only if it is willing to listen to young adults and help them process their experiences.”

2.  “For starters, American Christians—parents, pastors, seminary professors, counselors, educators, small-group leaders, and more—can simply become better informed about the emerging adulthood phenomenon.”  If your congregation or church leadership needs an education about emerging adults, (and you can’t afford Christian Smith – Contact me.)

There is no mass-market response to the Millennial Exodus. The church’s future lies in the people of God engaging a new generation by being fully present in their lives and believing in the power of partnership.
David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to equip church and parents to understand emerging adulthood.  He is also the Founder of the EA Network, a national network whose purpose is to connect resources to those who work with emerging adults.

 

The Megachurch Movement – Will the bubble burst?

The religious beliefs of Millennials are certainly different than the generations that came before them.  We know that Many Millennials are leaving the church.     As Millennials pull out of the church, will Megachurches falter, or will they alone stand after the Millennial Exodus?

Skye Jethani discusses how Millennials distrust large institutions, and how their beliefs will cause the fall of megachurches.  (We actually attended the same seminary around the same time!)

Check out this Video.

skye jethani

Skye predicts that megachurches will not feel the affect due to the strength and support of Babyboomers, but as they age – the bubble will eventually burst.

Here are areas to explore:

1.  Do we have proof that Millennials are really avoiding megachurches in particular?  We are currently lacking in statistics that prove this – and this is why more research needs to be done.

2.  We must understand that while Millennials might distrust institutions, Millennials who are religious today, more than likely grew up in a megachurch environment.  Their religious history (with large youth groups, polished presentations, and hip worship bands) may keep them seeking a large church experience.

3.  The main thing to remember is that God is not dependent on the megachurch movement, or any faith movement that we notice in our culture.  The future of His Church is not at risk.

07TCSA_OB-2-46Skye is ordained in the Christian & Missionary Alliance, a Protestant denomination established in 1887.  He earned a Masters of Divinity degree in 2001 from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.