Could young adults impact their denomination? Is it Possible?

I hope that the answer is yes.  I understand that the leadership boards of almost every single denomination in America is filled with babyboomers who have “earned their stripes” and “understand the real world.”  I understand the challenges that young men and women face before being heard in the church. (Read more – here.)

If we want to change the Millennial Exodus, then we need to address the problem at every level.

  • There is a need to minister to the individual needs of emerging adults.
  • There is a need to provide resources and training to church leadership to reach and minister to emerging adults.
  • There is a need for denominations to lead the way through allowing young adults to speak up and speak out.

Here is a story of one group who is seeking to bring transformation to their denomination.

I recently interviewed Mark Hilbelink, who leads a group of people who have named themselves YALT – which stands for Young Adult Leadership Taskforce.  YALT serves within the Christian Reformed Church in North America and the Reformed Church in America.  The YALT team originally formed under the Leadership Development Department of the denomination, but now has become its own entity.

Image result for Mark Hilbelink

Mark Hilbelink

The leadership of YALT are not paid by denomination, but the denomination provides paid staff support for the movement.  The team is composed by various pastors and bloggers who want to influence the denomination (For example – Hilbelink pastors a church in Texas).

When the team originally formed, they planned events and conferences, but found that this was an expensive, and ineffective way to impact their denomination.  More recently, YALT has focused on their on-line presence.  You can find their Facebook profile and a website.

As for their impact within the denomination, Mark states that he believes that YALT seeks to get people on board with the mission to reach young adults, and through influencing denominational events.

Mark is often asked why Millennials are leaving the church, but Mark believes (like myself), that there is not a singular reason why Millennials are leaving.  He believes that their lack of attachment to the local church is due to their life phase.  Millennials are transient which makes it difficult to connect with community.  He believes that what overall truly attracts Millennials is not a hip church, but one that is healthy.

Mark shares that sometimes church leadership “uses us [the YALT team] to keep Millennials, but not to bring change to our church.”  Marks believes that while the church may not need to change its doctrine or practices, change is needed in order to stay relevant in today’s world.

If you have an interest in launching a group to influence your denomination, EA Resources can help.  Contact us at gdavid@earesources.org.

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing director of EA Resources.  He is also the founder of the EA Network, a Network that seeks to equip the parents and churches to meet the needs of emerging adults.

The changing face of U.S. higher education – from the Gates Foundation

Although Thien Chau and Danyelle Parrish were born worlds apart—Chau in Vietnam and Parrish just outside of New Orleans—they have arrived at similar places in their education. Both students don’t fit traditional categories of college-goers, and demonstrate how today’s colleges and universities need to adapt to fit the needs of learners with various backgrounds and needs.

Read the entire article here.

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From the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Here are some key points:

  • Diversity is now a fact of life in U.S. postsecondary education. There are more students of color, first-generation students, full-time workers, students from low-income backgrounds and those who must balance studies with parenting.
  • The academic world can be a maze for students with no parents or siblings to provide guidance from past experience.
  • A significant percentage of students return to school years later to seek a credential or degree. And nationwide, an estimated 28 percent of full-time students at four-year degree programs have children.

What does this mean for those who minister to emerging adults both on college campuses – and off?

Campus and church ministries who cater to the “traditional” college student, may need to broaden their vision to reach those who do not fit the mold.

If you want to become essential to their lives, provide emerging adults with vocational and educational guidance and resources.

The world is changing, and we must change and adapt if we are to successfully met the needs of emerging adults.  If we can help your community understand emerging adults, contact us at gdavid@earesources.org.

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit that seeks to equip parents and churches to meet the needs of emerging adults.

 

The Gap Year(s): Why I’m Glad I Took Time Off From Higher Education

When I graduated from college, countless classmates were headed to grad school — M.Eds, MDs, MBAs, MAs, MDivs, you name it. Well-intentioned professors urged me to do the same. I wanted to be a people-pleaser (and certainly a professor-pleaser!) as always…but just couldn’t shake the feeling that for some reason I wasn’t ready yet.

Kate's pic_graduationEmbarrassed, I moved home to my parents’ house (and later to a house with a few friends my age), got a job, and settled in.

It’s been 2 years since I wore a cap and gown. And each year, especially in the springtime, Facebook fills up with giddy grad school acceptance posts. There’s pictures of college hoodies and white coat ceremonies, comments of new seasons and new opportunities.

First, I feel happy for them; I really do. Then, the social comparison sets in, and I feel jealous, less-accomplished, one-step-behind. And, finally, when I think about it? Grateful. Grateful for the time I’ve had to live and work and learn some things like this:

  1. Being comfortable working with people significantly older than myself. In college, I worked, lived, and ate almost entirely with people approximately my age. But that’s not how most of the world operates. Now, I love sharing ideas and projects and meals with people in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, and on upwards.
  2. Keeping up with cooking, cleaning, and grocery shopping. In college, I had just half a dorm room to take care of and a meal plan to nourish me. Again, that’s not how most of the world operates. But now that I’ve taken the time to practice, I’m grateful to be able to do these “adult” things at least semi-decently.
  3. Writing not only essays but cover letters, resumes, professional emails, newsletters, thank you letters, grants, and the list goes on. I know some of these things were taught at my university’s Career Center. And probably in the Business school. But nothing beats experience (especially since, as an English major, most of my prior experience was with William Wordsworth and T.S. Eliot). Now, I love being able to confidently tell potential employers that, whatever type of writing they need done, I can probably figure it out.
  4. Having fun. Yes, it may be backwards, but I’m a nerd and have learned how to have fun more after college than during it. In college, if a friend asked me to go on a walk just for fun, I’d nervously eye my to-do list and likely say no. Now, when a housemate asks me to sit on the porch and do nothing with her — nothing but sip our tea and talk and watch the sunset — I still have the to-do list but more likely say, “sure.” I love that doing nothing, which used to elicit a resounding “why would I do that?!” now elicits a resounding “sure, why not?!” This strikes me now as socially, spiritually, mentally, and physically healthy.
  5. Reading and writing for fun. By the end of college, poetry had lost its pizzazz and novels no longer seemed like a novel idea. They were assigned, analyzed, and amounted to a lot of work. Had I started grad school immediately, my reading and writing would have been burdensome from the get-go, which could easily have taken a toll on both my schoolwork and my mental health. Now, I love reading and writing more than ever.
  6. Focusing on what I should do and not being as distracted by what I could do. In college, I was a young arts & humanities major interested in lots of things. Ask me what I wanted to do professionally, and the answer got more and more muddled by the month. But, give me a job to do for a while, and the answers begin to settle. I’ve asked myself questions like “What is it that you can’t help but do? What is it you daydream about doing? What exactly could you see working on in-depth for a long while?” And I love that the answers have gotten clearer.

I’m sure this isn’t everyone’s experience of college and life-after-college. Plenty of people have practical experiences, fun, focus, and their own cooking and cleaning during college. And plenty of people struggle after college. But this has been my experience.

If you’re thinking about taking time off from higher education, I’d so strongly encourage you to do it. I never thought I’d say this but: I’m grateful I’ve done it.

This post originally appeared on juliapowersblog.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.

From Washington Post – To attract young people to your church, you’ve got to be warm. Not cool.

I am thankful for the work and research that is happening at Fuller Youth Institute.  Here is an article promoting their up-coming book – Growing Young.  It is written by Kara Powell, Jake Mulder and Brad Griffin.

For our book “Growing Young,” we researched more than 250 congregations. When we spoke to more than 1,300 young churchgoers, ages 15 to 29, they told us what they want: authenticity and connection.

When we analyzed the terms that young adults used to describe the churches or parishes that they chose, we noticed repeated words:welcoming, accepting, belonging, authentic, hospitable and caring. We began to call this the “warmth cluster.”

Read the entire article here.

Young people sing and pray at Together 2016, a Christian revival in July on the Mall in Washington. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)

 

If you have a heart for ministering to the needs of emerging adults, you should stay connected to what is happening at the Fuller Youth Institute.

I only have one comment about the article, and it is the picture which I assume was not picked by the authors.  Large Christian events are not what I would classify as the “Warm” sought out by the authors, but from my perspective would fall under the “Cool” method of doing ministry.

The Forgotten Half: Reaching those who don’t attend college.

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Here is an article that I wrote that was recently featured on the Youth Specialties Blog.  If you have a passion to change the future of the church, join me in conversations about emerging adults at the National Youth Workers Conference.

In the United States, the societal expectation to attend college can be intense.  Any graduating senior can attest to the pressure.  In the fall of 2015, approximately 20.2 million students attended American colleges and universities.  (SOURCE)

BUT IS EVERYBODY REALLY ATTENDING COLLEGE?

The Forgotten Half of emerging adults refers to emerging adults who do not go to college.  Jeffrey Arnett used this expression during an address at the 2015 Conference of the SOCIETY FOR THE STUDY OF EMERGING ADULTHOOD).  Although college remains a popular choice, many emerging adults do not attend, and are often forgotten in research conducted on college campuses.

Read the rest of the article – HERE!

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit that seeks to equip parents and churches to meet the needs of emerging adults.  If he can help your community, contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

Glorifying God as a Student – By Amanda Babcock

As students head back to school and we pray for emerging adults particularly during their #first2weeks on college campuses, it can be helpful to remember that being a student is so much more than learning to read and write, decipher and discuss, calculate or conjugate. Being a student involves learning to glorify God.

Emerging adult Amanda Babcock has written a reflection on how to glorify God as a student.

“There are so many days that I barely even have time to eat or sleep. Being a college student is a full-time job. And then everyone expects you to also have a job to afford living, be involved, sleep, eat, and exercise. It’s basically an impossible task. I’ve been prone to complain about how much work I have, or how stressed I am, or how overwhelmed I am. But the last few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I can use everything I do to glorify God.

In fact, it’s pretty simple. I realized that putting my best foot forward in all I do brings glory to God.

Click here for full article on using our gifts and talents, classes and callings, to glorify God.


 

Amanda BabcockAmanda Noelle Babcock is a student at Bethel University studying Environmental Science in hopes of doing Environmental Restoration with missions. She loves the outdoors, being Minnesotan, and everything about camp – including flannels, chacos, and sharing the gospel. To read more by Amanda, check out her blog.

New Research Projects regarding Science and Emerging Adults – Coming from Fuller

I have always had a love/hate relationship with science.  I still remember the day in 3rd grade when I called a frog a toad in class. Science is also the only class in high school where I completely bombed a test.  Yet, I did love my high school science teacher, and I am thankful for how she daily wrestled with issues of science and faith.

When I saw the news earlier this year that Fuller Institute was doing research on the lives of Emerging Adults – I became ecstatic.

There are three major reasons why this new research excites me:

1.  The use of the word emerging adult shows an awareness and acceptance of how the human life phase has shifted.

2.  Research is being done to help us understand the Millennial Exodus, and how the church can respond.

3.  Fuller Youth Institute has recently launched some great material – including Stick Faith.  (Which has brought attention to the question – Why do some emerging adults stick with their religious faith while others leave?)

Here are some great lines from the announcement:

  • Nonetheless, engaging the Gospel with science is critical because, according to Barna’s David Kinnaman, one primary reason that one-third of 18-30 years olds are leaving the church is that it’s seen as “anti-science”.
  • Bring mainstream science to church, create communities that discuss the integration of faith and science, and there God will be revealed.

You can keep up with this research by checking out the STEAM website.  (STEAM – stands for Science and Technology for Emerging Adult Ministries.)

There is so much that we do not understand about emerging adults, and how their faith is changing individually during this life phase.  At EA Resources, it is our passion to encourage research, and provide resources to parents and churches who seek to minister to emerging adults.

 

 

 

Do we still believe in rape?

This news story has made me ask the question, “Do we still believe in rape?”

An 18-year-old accused of sexually assaulting two high school classmates is facing two years of probation despite the district attorney’s office’s recommendation of two years in prison.

PHOTO: Pictured is David Becker, 18, of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts.David Becker, of East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, was charged with two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault and battery, according to court documents, after an April 2 incident in which he was accused of digitally penetrating two girls who were sleeping in a bed after a house party. Becker and the alleged victims, who are not being identified, were all seniors.

You can read the rest of the article here!

Image result for brock turnerI hope that our nation still believes in rape.  Several high profile rape cases among young adults have received alarmingly light sentences.  A Stanford University student named Brock Turner received a six month sentence for what his father described as “twenty minutes of action” when he rapped an unconscious woman.

In David Becker’s case, the judge stated that “The goal of this sentence was not to impede this individual from graduating high school and to go onto the next step of his life, which is a college experience.”  The judge’s statement makes the assumption that all emerging adults go to college, and that college is an inherent right to young adults.

But the judge also believes that this sex offender has the right to a “normal” life.

I do believe in forgiveness and restoration.  However, I also believe in the importance of personal autonomy – which is the ability to make decisions and deal with the consequences.

Whatever lies ahead in this young man’s future (and I do hope it includes forgiveness and restoration), I do not imagine that this young man’s future will remain unaffected by his crime.  In spite of his light sentence, the social and psychological affects to his crimes will follow him for many years.

As I reflect on the judge’s assumptions and perspective, I see another viewpoint.

I am wondering about the victims.  Do his victims have the right to a “normal” life?  How will these events affect their college experience?

I am wondering about the growing number of victims from sexual crimes that fill our schools, homes, and churches.  I wonder if their stories are slowly being altered.  I wonder if their cries are being muffled.  I wonder if their wounds are bleeding anew.

I hope that our society can still see the benefit of morality.  In a world where sexual bondage is presented as appropriate (50 Shades of Gray) and where we promote and glorify the connection between sex and power, I hope we can find the God-ordained purpose of sex.

I hope that in this darkness, we can remove sex from the obsession it has become in our society and realize that sex will never fulfill us.

I hope that we still believe in rape.

 

David - Prof 2Dr. G. David Boyd is the manager of EA Resources, and the Founder of the EA Network, a network for those who minister to emerging adults.

 

 

 

 

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.