Will marriage become extinct?

Marriage between man and woman today “is becoming extinct.”

Image may contain: 2 people, wedding and outdoor

Copyright 2016 Photo Courtesy of Aaron Robert Photography LLC

 

That was the view shared by Jennifer Murff of Millennials for Marriage at a recent speech to an audience of young people from various countries who attended a conference promoting marriage and families in Beverly, Massachusetts, CBN News reported.

Here is the rest of the article from Christianity Today.

My Favorite Line –

The problem is that instead of trying to reach a compromise with the young people, the older generations tend to shun them, especially since these millennials are now more often accepting of gay marriage, premarital sex and even abortion—things that are non-negotiable for many adult churchgoers.

Statements like this display the desperate need in churches for Generational Mediators.

Marriage statistics are clearly changing – due to various reasons including:  the availability of birth control, rise of cohabitation, and the lessening of sexual taboos.  Regardless of what you believe on these issues, this trend should affect our churches and how we approach, evangelize, and disciple the next generation.

While I don’t believe that marriage will become extinct, the question among Millennials is no longer, “When do we get married?”, but “Why get married at all?”

 

 

The End of 2016

EA Resources - Christmas Banner

It has been a great year at EA Resources, and I am thankful for our regular readers and contributors.  EA Resources is a non-profit designed to equip parents and churches to minister to Emerging Adults.

If God has blessed you financially this year, please considering supporting our work by donating to our work.

Click Here!

Sending a Different Message to Emerging Adults – An Example

The message of the organized church doesn’t seem to be sitting to well with many Emerging Adults.  Many emerging adults are exiting the church at record numbers – creating what I call the Millennial Exodus.
video-ready-to-goI believe that if we want to see a reversal of this trend, then we will need to change our message.  No, I am not talking about watering down the gospel or avoiding the today’s tough topics.  The church needs to send a different message to Emerging Adults.

The main messages that emerging adults hear from the church is that their generation.

  • Are selfish and narcissistic.
  • Are too techy (which is usually described as weird and unhealthy).
  • Are leaving the church.
  • Are endangering the future of the church.
  • Are too young to really lead.

These words may not have been spoken from the platform, or printed in the bulletin; however, the message is loud and clear to them.  They know it well because they have heard these messages while sitting in your faith classes and in your pews on Sunday mornings.

What is a better message to send to emerging adults?  Here is a great example from the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod.

 

video-lcmsHere is a Link!

 

There is a need for denominations and churches to send a different message to emerging adults. This message should be well-crafted, simple, and repetitive.

Leave a comment of what you feel needs to be said to today’s emerging adults.

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.

Lily Endowment Funding Church Initiatives to Emerging Adults

The Lily Endowment Fund just recently released a report that they will be funding churches and organizations who will be taking new initiatives to reach young adults.

Here is a complete News Release.

lilly-endowmentLilly Endowment Inc. is launching a $19.4 million initiative to help congregations engage young adults and work with them to design innovative ministries that support and enrich their religious lives.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical company. The Endowment is committed to causes of religion, education and community development. Its religion grant making is primarily focused on initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of Christian ministry in American congregations.

I look forward to seeing how the money is used, and I pray that God uses these resources to build His kingdom.

 

I’ll be home for Christmas – Welcoming College Students Home for Break.

Christmas Tree from Flickr via Wylio

© 2011 Tom Ipri, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

While emerging adults will be home for Christmas, don’t expect them to come pounding on your door to talk.  Aside from endless family gatherings and catching up with high school friends, many of them will work in order to make spending money, or to stay relevant in their old job.

So how do we make the most of the Holiday season in regards to ministering to college students?  (Other than asking those who are musically skillful to fill into our holiday rotations – which often speaks louder to emerging adults about what and who we value than we would care to admit.)  Here are a few thoughts to get you started.

  1. Acknowledge them from the platform and in print. As a congregation, make it clear that you value them, and that you are glad that they are home.  Run an announcement in your bulletin that communicates, “You are still a part of our community, and we are glad you are home.”  During Christmas break, our church would run an announcement saying that there was a gift for every young adult in attendance.  As the pastor of young adults, I would hand out candy bars to those who stopped by (whether a student home from college, a regular attender, or a visitor).  It was a great chance to say thanks for coming, and to reacquaint with them as adults.
  2. Ask good questions. The worst question that you can ask is, “How is school going?” Remember that not all high school graduates leave town, or even attend college.  Don’t assume that the reason you haven’t seen them is because they are away at college.  Due to society’s expectations, those who are not taking classes feel embarrassed, and rather than stick around, they will stop attending.  While many more graduates are attending college, many drop out due to a variety of reasons including:  finances, family, illness, or lack of motivation.  Ask general questions, and allow them to steer the conversation.
  3. Allow them to change.  There is inevitable awkwardness.  You haven’t seen them, and they haven’t seen you, and so there is a need to reacquaint yourself with each other.  As you catch up, realize that they are not the same person as when they left.  They want people to see a difference and treat them as adults.  We need to communicate to emerging adults that they are free to grow and change within fear of rejection from our community.
  4. Plan a gathering (using social media) where they can reunite with church friends. Someone on our youth staff would host a college party over Christmas break each year.  Many Christian camps hold retreats for young adults over Christmas break which are inexpensive and a great way for them to connect with other Christians.

If you church is serious about connecting with Millennials, then you must take advantages of every opportunity – including breaks in the academic calendar.  As they come home for Christmas, I pray that you will be ready – with a purposeful greeting, a Spirit-guided conversation, and a warm embrace.

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to equip parents and churches to minister to emerging adults.  He writes and teaches regularly on spiritual formation, delayed development, and emerging adulthood at www.earesources.org and www.morethanabeard.com.  If he can help your community, contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

 

 

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.