Multigenerational Ministry for the Holidays

“Hey, man, what are you doing for Thanksgiving?”

“I don’t know. Nothing much.”

These are the kinds of conversations I often hear – among emerging adults during the holiday season.

Emerging adulthood can be an especially isolating life stage, as we may be geographically distanced from family while pursuing educational or career opportunities.

Christmas Dinner. from Flickr via Wylio

© 2014 Connie Ma, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

 

Even if we have strong communities at school, work, and/or church, there may be lulls in activity – or at least routine activities – during the holidays. College students hunker down for finals. The weekly Bible study takes a break. And you know what? The Bible does not take a break from exhorting: “Let us not neglect meeting together, as some have made a habit” (Hebrews 10:25).

It’s really not that hard to include emerging adults in your church family and maybe even in your biological family during the holiday season.

Here are five ways to show warmth to emerging adults during this holiday season.

1. Send care packages to the college students who are members of your church. Easy, practical, and student-approved items you might consider including: granola bars, popcorn, chewing gum, tea bags, hot cocoa packets, ramen noodle packages, pens, highlighters, Post-It notes, handwritten encouraging notes.

2. Invite a young adult over to your home for a meal at Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year’s, or really any time!

3. Offer a ride to or from the airport to help a young adult get home to their family. Paying for airport parking, taxis, or Uber can be rather pricey. And, students and young professionals can be rather poor. Financials aside, though, a car ride is a real, tangible kindness to offer to anyone.

4. Help a young adult spend time with children. For instance, invite young adults to baby sit, volunteer in the church nursery, or help with the Christmas Pageant. All parties involved benefit from this multigenerational interaction.

5. Help a young adult spend time with the elderly. For instance, invite young adults to help in some way with your church’s Senior Adults ministry, visit a nursing home, or visit homebound church members. Activities like Christmas caroling, baking, and board games get the young and old bonding in no time.

In sum, invite us to be part of a family! That’s what we all crave, especially at the holidays. And that’s something young adults may struggle to find … but I think easily could find with a little partnership from the other generations around us.

View More: http://kristianewebb.pass.us/julia-headshotsJulia Powers is a twenty-something writer and seminarian finding my way in God’s story for the world, the Church, and the little square inch of the world that is my life.  You can find more of her thoughts at her blog.

Allowing Your Adolescents to Grow Up – Youth Specialties Blog

We’re excited to have Dr. G David Boyd as one of our NYWC speakers. This blog post is a great start to the conversations he’ll be navigating in his seminar: DISCIPLESHIP BEYOND HIGH SCHOOL: THE SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT OF EMERGING ADULTSCheck out more information HERE

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My research among emerging adults reveals that they often feel they aren’t treated as adults within the church community.  While being called “Davy” as a child never bothered me, when I left for college, I hoped to leave that name behind.  Sometimes, the easiest way for emerging adults to be treated like an adult is to leave their old world behind.

emerging adults in the church

William James, an American philosopher and psychologist, developed a theory of social selves which posits that an individual acts differently based upon the social situation and the expectations placed upon them.  In some social contexts, emerging adults are expected to be an adult, while in other contexts, they are treated like a child.  As emerging adults mature, our communication, actions, and words must display our support for their ongoing development.

Here are three ways you can allow your students to grow up:

Read the rest of my post here!

I am thankful for Youth Specialties, and for allowing me to contribute to the blog, and to the National Youth Workers Convention 2016.

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the managing director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to equip parents and churches to engage emerging adults. He is also the founder of the EA Network, a community of people who serve and love emerging adults.

 

A new vision for adolesecents and emerging adults – Mark Oestreicher

Mark-O has been around the church world for many years, and he has always challenged my thinking, and caused me to laugh.  He recently wrote a reflection on the Ethiopian eunuch, and moved it into the realm of youth ministry.

Here is the article.

Here is the heart of the passage –

Our youth ministries should not exist as well-meaning holding tanks, waiting for maturity and adulthood.

Our youth ministries should not isolate teenagers from the world of adults.

Our youth ministries should not treat teenagers as children, incapable and broken.

If you want to change how your view and treat adolescents and emerging adults, here are some first steps.

The O FamilyMark is a partner in The Youth Cartel, providing services and resources for individual youth workers and organizations. I’ve been married to Jeannie for 30 years, and have two great kids: Riley (22) and Max (18). Here’s The Youth Cartel’s website. twitter: @markosbeard instagram: @whyismarko

Faith Radio Interview – with Neil Stavem

I was recently interview by Neil Stavem on Faith Radio about emerging adulthood, and the delayed development of adolescents.  It was a great time of discussion, and I am thankful for the opportunity to work with their team.  Here is a write-up that they completed of my interview.

Or download the interview – Here.

Dr. G. David Boyd says that while God doesn’t provide a clear definition of adulthood, there is a big difference between what Scripture reveals to us and what our society teaches us on the subject of adulthood.

“For example, if you ask adolescents what it means to be an adult, some will answer that it is about being independent, both financially and emotionally, and of course moving away from their parents’ home.”

“However, God’s design for us as adults has never been independence, but interdependence.God has designed us a social being who should learn to rely on each other as we go through life’s journey.”

Dr. Boyd discovered that if we don’t have a proper understanding of what it means to be an adult, we won’t be able to teach our children what it means. As a result, he created an evacuation plan for parents and emerging adults to use during their transition into adulthood. He reviews the three main developmental tasks from the acronym VAC:

“Vocation: are they able to work in whatever God calls them to?”

“Autonomy: are they able to establish autonomy? The ability to make decisions and deal with consequences?”

“Community: can they develop community, the ability to develop and maintain interdependent healthy relationships?”

“If we teach our adolescents and emerging adults, and give them the ability to discover vocation, to establish their autonomy, and to develop community, then they will be a healthy functioning adult.”

Dr. Boyd points out that these developmental factors also resonate with the core of what it means to be human.

“Our basic needs of a human are to be useful, to be free and to be loved.”

He expands our human nature and the importance of having an eVAC plan in place for emerging adults.

“As we discover our vocation as a human it helps us feel useful, as we establish our autonomy to give the ability to be free, and as we develop a community around us to fulfil is our basic human need to be loved.”


David - Prof 2

Dr. G. David Boyd is the managing director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to equip parents and churches to engage emerging adults. He is also the founder of the EA Network, a community of people who serve and love emerging adults.

Allowing Your Adolescents to Grow Up – Navigating the Social Boundaries as Adolescents become Adults

 

My research among emerging adults reveals that they often feel they aren’t treated as adults within the church community.  While being called “Davy” as a child never bothered me, when I left for college, I hoped to leave that name behind. Sometimes, the easiest way for emerging adults to be treated like an adult is to leave their old world behind.

chart-social-expectations

Emerging adults report that they are “most likely” to be treated as an adult at their workplace, while reporting that they are “unlikely”, and “least likely” to be treated like adults at their church, and in society.

 

William James, an American philosopher and psychologist, developed a theory of social selves which posits that an individual acts differently based upon the social situation and the expectations placed upon them. In some social contexts, emerging adults are expected to be an adult, while in other contexts, they are treated like a child. As emerging adults mature, our communication, actions, and words must display our support for their ongoing development.

Here are three ways you can allow your students to grow up:

1. Put on a new lens.

group of girls2As adolescents grow up within a community, it is crucial to change our perspective towards them. One emerging adults states, “It seems at times that it is easier to meet new adults who recognize me as I am now than to be with adults who see me as I used to be.” (Parks 2000, 6) Emerging adults want people to understand they are not necessarily the same person they were in the past. One practical way is to realize that their interests, sports, and relationships might have changed, so we shouldn’t rely on their past experiences to relate to them. While some old bridges might remain, you must create new ways to relate to them during this phase of life. Focus on their maturity as they move towards adulthood by stepping back and viewing the individual from a new perspective.

2. Raise Expectations

Individuals read social settings and often conform to the expectations placed upon them. When I was thirty, I went on a mission trip with a group of older adults to Africa. After a few hours, I noticed that as the “youngster” of the group, I was expected to be funny and childish. Feeling the pressure, I conformed and took on these behaviors. Discuss appropriate expectations for EA’s within your community and seek to clearly communicate them. Here is a link for some practical ideas on how to raise expectations in your community. 

3. Encourage Autonomy.

Aaaron in woodsutonomy is the ability to make decisions and deal with the consequences of them independently. As mentors, we must allow EA’s to have the freedom to choose beliefs and behaviors even when we do not agree with them. Avoid shaming EA’s for their choices or conveying an “I told you so” attitude. If you feel led to confront an issue, deal directly with emerging adults rather than work through parents. We must remember that “as a young adult becomes more fully adult, mentors become peers” (Parks 2000, 84), and be careful to change the boundaries that we once held as our relationship changes throughout the years.

As Parks writes, “For each of these young adults—and, as a consequence, for all of us—there is much at stake in how they are heard, understood, and met by the adult world in which they are seeking participation, purpose, meaning, and a faith to live by.” (Parks 2000, 3) EA’s want to be welcomed into our community not because of who they once were, but for who they are now, to be approached, heard, and understood as adults. It may take time for both sides to redevelop this “new” relationship. But establishing new boundaries and a new way to relate is crucial if we are going to allow these young adults to grow up.

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the managing director of EA Resources – a non-profit designed to equip parents and churches to engage emerging adults.  He is also the founder of the EA Network – a community of people who serve and love emerging adults.

 

Why All Your Millennial Stereotypes Might Be Wrong

Here is an interesting article and video discussing the stereotypes of Millennials, and how the delayed development of their generation – may not be entirely their fault.

Consider the millennial, America’s enigmatic under-35-year-old adult, and a few standard tropes come to mind: slacker, living in parent’s basement, obsessed with Snapchat.millennial-stereotypes

But there’s plenty that’s still unknowable about the generation, simply because the economy has been so awful for most of their lives. The behavior we’ve come to associate with the group is deeply informed by the 2008 financial crisis, and traits that seem to define them now—living at home, for example—are likely more a product of financial duress than ingrained tendencies.

Here is the complete article and video discussion.

For a complete list of causes of the delayed development among adolescents, here are some resources.

 

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the managing director of EA Resources – a non-profit designed to equip parents and churches to engage emerging adults.  He is also the founder of the EA Network – a community of people who serve and love emerging adults.

Anatomy of Generations – by Wrong Hands

I came across this cartoon, and needed to share it with my readers.  There is plenty more laughter at the Wrong Hands website –  Click here.

anatomy of generations

I believe that laughter can be used to build bridges between the generations as long as it is equally given to each age group.  In this comic, as a Gen Xer, I am just happy that the author acknowledges our existence (sniff-sniff).

All joking aside –

There is a need for inter-generational relationships within the church.  Here are some links if you are interested in learning more about how to help your community connect.

David - Prof 2If you are looking for someone to speak to your community or staff about working together, contact Dr. G. David Boyd at gdavid@earesources.org.

The Millennial Exodus – Caleb’s Story

(This is part of a series written by Millennials who have either left or stuck with the church.  If you are a Millennial and would like to submit your work for publication, you will earn $100.  Here is the link.  To read more stories by Millennials search Millennial Exodus.  If you would like to fund our research among emerging adults, click here.)

Here is Caleb’s story.

I’ve been a Christian for as long as I can remember.  My first childhood memories are of vacation bible school and Sunday family lunches.  The church has been a part of me since I was born, and its presence in my life grew and grew throughout the years.  I experienced the Holy Spirit countless times during my youth years at church camp and on mission trips, but after I graduated high school, my faith took a turn for the worse.

Make no mistake; during my first year of college I was still a Christian, but even I knew that I was lukewarm at best.  I stopped attending church, and with that decision, my faith began to slip away from me.  After almost an entire year of ignoring God, I knew I had to take action.

I found a group of Christians student through a local campus ministry who put God first and helped me regain my relationship with God.  I immediately felt overwhelmed by the sincerity and generosity these believers displayed to me.  As I began to involve myself with this community, I built strong and faithful friendships.  This change of community also led me to devote more of my time and energy to my faith.

I stuck with the church because when I lived my life without it, I hated what I saw.

My desires were earthly, my relationships were shallow, and my spirit was starved.  In retrospect, I understood how truly lonely and apathetic I felt without the body of Christ.  I had taken for granted the bond of Christian fellowship which I enjoyed my entire childhood.  This fellowship displayed through the sincere relationships and genuine kindness of a church family drew me back into the arms of my Father. 

After almost two years, I thank God for allowing me to know His presence is in my life, and for accepting me back into His loving family.  I pray that if I come upon someone going through the same struggles, that I can provide the help others so graciously provided to me.

caleb-norris-writerCaleb Norris is a student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a major in business management.  Caleb was born and raised in Winchester, Tennessee and is the oldest of three children.  In his spare time, Caleb enjoys reading, fishing, and playing guitar.  Please pray for Caleb as he continues his walk with Christ throughout his life.

 

 

Preaching to your Adult Child – Here is Their Perspective.

Image from page 336 of "The history of Methodism" (1902) from Flickr via Wylio

© 1902 Internet Archive Book Images, Flickr | PD | via Wylio

If you are a parent, then there are times when your child feels as if you are preaching at them.  If you don’t know your favorite topics, just ask them (if you are brave).

This article written by an emerging adult explains the thought process for your child as you discuss issues that you don’t agree upon – including faith.  While this article may not reflect the relationship between you and your child, there is much for parents to learn from this writer’s perspective.

Within five minutes of starting the hour-long car ride, she asked me if I wanted to explain my theological beliefs to her.

Awkward.

At this point, I had three options…

Read the entire article – HERE.

I wanted to summarize the points, but found too much that I wanted my readers to see and feel.  But I do want to highlight the author’s main conclusion:

I ask ‘when the preaching will end’ because with conservatives I consistently feel that I am being preached at by people who don’t care to understand me as a person, while with liberals I feel that I am becoming a part of a movement which is built on compassion and mutual understanding.

Within our homes, churches, and the public square – communication is key.  

Most Christians ignore the role of the Holy Spirit, and focus on conversion tactics when speaking with those outside the church – including their children.  Dialogue and diversity are welcome in today’s culture, but when someone in a conversation feels the need to be right – it will turn people from the beauty of the gospel.

This author is a follower of Jesus who was raised in an evangelical home.  Unfortunately, this emerging adult found the “extra baggage” of present-day Evangelical culture (which I use to refer to anything not required by the original tenants of the movement) to be completely overpowering to their spiritual journey.  I believe that some emerging adults find these beliefs so restrictive that they abandon the faith completely.

Related Links:

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the managing director of EA Resources – a non-profit designed to equip parents and churches to engage emerging adults.  He is also the founder of the EA Network – a community of people who serve and love emerging adults.

 

 

You are not alone – A Bible Study for Parents of Young Adults

 

I had the privilege of meeting with Corey Magstadt who runs a ministry to serve young adults in the community of Chaska, Minnesota.  Corey seeks to minister to emerging adults and their parents through his Launch ministry.  After years of running support groups for parents, he wrote a resource called, “You are Not Alone.”

Image result for you are not alone book corey magstadtParenting emerging adults while rewarding is sometimes a difficult job.  Parents often feel isolated because their words might embarrass either themselves or their adult children.  This is especially true in the church where parents often feel as if they have failed.  Corey writes, “Sadly, our churches often forget that one of the primary roles of the body of Christ is to be a hospital for sick and broken people.”

A desperate need exists for safe places for parents to share their experiences.  Corey envisions small groups that meet on a regular basis to share a part of this journey. I believe that groups could be led by churches, educational institutions, non-profits, or other social organizations who have a passion for emerging adults and their parents.

The book includes a discussion guide for each lesson.  Each week begins in a similar fashion including time for each individual to share.  Then a different topic is discussed revolving around the specific needs of emerging adults and the transition of their role as parents.   A Facilitator’s Guide is available which provides practical advice to launching your own group.  It includes supplemental information for each of the 12 sessions.

Corey is the founder of Launch Ministry, a faith-based non-profit organization established to expose emerging adults between 18-25 years old to opportunities that will promote healthy, productive transitions into adulthood.  Launch Ministry assists young people in a holistic transition by providing them with tools to develop life skills, opportunities to lead and serve, and by promoting spiritual and character formation.  Corey lives in Cologne, MN with his wife Lori, and their children.

You can purchase You are not alone–  Particpant’s Guide here.

You can purchase You are not alone- Facilatator’s Guide here.