Why did emerging adults not vote in the 2016? What does this mean for the Church?

In the 2016 election, 46% percent of emerging adults (18-29) voted.  This percentage was up slightly from the 2012 election.  Historically, younger Americans do not vote as much as older generations.  For example, over 70% of those over the age of 65 voted in the election.  We could say that the reason that emerging adults don’t vote is because they are all lazy and narcissistic, but that would not be true.

www.census.gov

 

I believe that young voters often do not believe that their vote will make a difference.

Democracy is built upon a belief that each individual has a voice, and that each vote matters.

I recently read an article that was discussing the recent election in the United Kingdom.  In the last election (which included the decision about the UK leaving the European Union), 43% of voters between the ages of 18-24 did not vote.  The author stated that behind each young adult, there is a story as to why they feel as if their vote did not matter.

The author states that she believes the same thing is true about the church.  She states, “If they [emerging adults] haven’t been included in decision making and leadership, if they’ve been patronized or belittled, why would they bother turning up?”  I believe that there is a correlation between the involvement of emerging adults in the institutions of government and the church.

Emerging adults are rarely allowed into places of leadership.  Emerging adults are rarely given the opportunity for their voice to be heard.

The decline of religion in the UK has been occurring for many decades, and as the decline of religion is becoming clear in the US (Millennial Exodus), we should listen and learn from them.

Unfortunately, sometimes current church leadership does not want them to vote – because they are afraid.  They are afraid of what the new generation believes.  So instead of everyone coming together to work out our differences, we simple don’t leave room for them at the table.

Instead of fear, I believe that we should respond in faith.

Without the voice and vote of emerging adults, the church suffers.

Relevant Links

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

The Millennial Exodus – An Article from South Korea

The article is entitled – Why young South Koreans are turning away from religion – Some churches are employing technology and becoming less hierarchical to try to entice and keep young members.

The article was interesting to me because it has similar features to the Millennial Exodus happening here in the United States.  According to the article, the reasons why South Koreans are leaving the faith…

  • Smartphones
  • Demanding Educational System
  • Unemployment
  • Church Hierarchy

Unfortunately, it appears that some churches are attempting to win them back by following the Western churches through hip music and pyrotechnics. 

Here are some additional resources about this topic.

 

Multigernerational versus Intergenerational Churches

Spiral of Hands from Flickr via Wylio

2008 lostintheredwoods, Flickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio

Here is an article that introduces some discussion about Multigenerational Churches versus Intergenerational Communities.

Here are a few of my highlights:

  • In a MULTIgenerational church, the generations can show up on the same day and in the same place, can all be in the attendance rolls and partner files, but not be interrelated or interconnected in life or experience.
  • An imbalance between the generations can lead to problems like…
    • Older generations have the money and resources to keep the lights on, so their preferences, advice, and past experiences hold more weight in the direction of the church.
    • Younger generations are “the future,” so massive shifts in worship, style, look, and structure of the church are risked to head towards that future.

Here are some additional resources concerning building an Intergenerational Community.

Here are some questions to ponder:

  1. Is your faith community – Intergenerational or Multigenerational?
  2. Does your leadership reflect the diversity of the body of Christ by generations?
  3. What is the first step for your community for moving towards a intergenerational church?

 

New stats of Religious Teens in the UK

Is it really true that 20 per cent of young people are active Christians? Unsplash

I found this article over the weekend, and I wanted to share it with my readers.  The articles states how approximately 20% of adolescents in the UK claim to be religiously active.  I believe that the author makes a good point to show how sometimes religious studies where recipients self-report are not accurate. It could also reveal that like young adults in America, many claim to be spiritual – but what that really means is different to those who study faith and religion.

When something seems too good to be true, it’s probably because it is. As reported by the Daily Telegraph at the weekend, a new piece of research suggests that 21 per cent of young people (aged between 11 and 18) describe themselves at ‘active followers of Jesus’. And while that is a wonderful idea, and one that all of us involved in youth ministry hope and pray for, I’m afraid it definitely doesn’t ring true. One of the team behind the research was quoted as being ‘shocked’ by the results, and said ‘there was disbelief among the team because [that number] was so high’. It’s a remarkably honest sentiment, and one I share.

Here is the rest of the article.

I have written many times about the Millennial Exodus, and the decline of Christianity in America.  England has traveled that road before us, and those who still cling to faith understand the new world that we may soon be facing.  The author writes,

 “The Church is faced with a huge challenge in re-engaging young people.”

The UK is not alone.

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

 

Leveraging Milestones: Making Spiritual Conversations Normal At Home

Fuller Youth Institute released this article, and I wanted to share because it deals with rites of passage in a faith community.  The article is mislabeled as most of the content deals with addressing milestones and spirituality within a church or spiritual community.

Leveraging Milestones: Making Spiritual Conversations Normal At HomeI believe that the article does a great job of pointing out spiritual milestones or rites of passages for children as they grow into adults.

Here is the article.

My Highlights include:

  • Whether rites of passage or milestones, church communities have unique opportunities to intersect families at these various points and equip them to normalize spiritual conversations within their home life.
  • Our desire is for spiritual conversations in the family ecofriendly-minivan to be as normal as the conversations about basketball or the latest Disney hit.
  • Chart of Rites of Passages and Questions that they answer.

If you are new to the discussion of rites of passages in faith development, here are some additional resources.

 

 

Facebook is Seeking Authentic Community

I came across this article, and had to share it.  Facebook is now seeking how to develop community that is real and authentic.  Many churches are attempting to do the same thing – for a different reason.

At Facebook, mere “sharing” is getting old. Finding deeper meaning in online communities is the next big thing.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg is no longer satisfied with just connecting the world so that people can pass around baby pictures and live video — or fake news and hate symbols. So the Facebook founder wants to bring more meaning to its nearly 2 billion users by shepherding them into online groups that bring together people with common passions, problems and ambitions.

In this Wednesday, June 21, 2017, photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, right, talks with Facebook group administrators Lola Omolola, left, Erin Schatteman, second from left, and Janet Sanchez during the Facebook Communities Summit, in Chicago, in advance of announcement of a new Facebook initiative designed to spur people to form more meaningful communities with Facebook's groups feature. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Here is the full article.

The article explains how their leadership team is seeking to move Facebook from social sharing into communities where people find genuine community.  Community is powerful.  As humans, we were created to be in community with one another.  The ability to develop a community is so essential, that I present it as one of the basic developmental factors of adulthood. 

Facebook is facing an uphill battle.  While still the largest (by far) of the social media platforms, Facebook is facing decline among today’s adolescents and emerging adults who prefer to use Snapchat or Instagram.  This decline in popularity is causing them to rethink social media.

The main cause for this change is money.  Facebook made $27 billion dollars on advertising last year.  The longer that people stay on Facebook, the more income that they produce.

According to Anita Blanchard, virtual communities “can fill a fundamental need we have for a sense of belonging, much like eating or sleeping.”  The real hurdle for building authentic community is whether virtual communities, can truly provide undivided attention, a warm embrace, or help when your car won’t start.

If you are looking for a virtual community to join, check out the EA Network – a network of people who desire to minister to the needs of emerging adults.

Related articles:

 

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

 

Faith in the Home – Spiritual Conversations with your Emerging Adult

Research done among youth group participants by Fuller Institute revealed only 12% of mothers have regular dialogue with their children about spiritual or life issues.  Only 5% of teenagers reported that their fathers have regular dialogue with them regarding spiritual or life issues.

The lack of communication in our homes about our faith is clearly an obstacle to the passing on of our faith and a cause of the Millennial Exodus.

Most of us are familiar with our responsibility as parents to imprint our faith upon our offspring.  Deuteronomy 6:6-7 states…

These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 

However, being a spiritual leader in the home is not always easy.

Many parents struggle with addressing spirituality within the home.  Some parents struggle because it was never modeled for them, or feel as if they are not equipped.  The main reason that parents don’t talk to their children about faith is because they are afraid. 

Yes.  Fear shuts down the conversation before it even begins.

We fear how our child may respond either through statements, questions, or actions.  As parents, we fear that our child may reject the faith that we believe – and that their unbelief means that they are rejecting us.

Another source of this fear could be that our child might struggle with the same doubts that we ourselves possess.  Most Christians do not like facing our doubts, but we try to ignore or bury them in other activity.  We know the “church answers” or party-line responses for our doubt, but those pesky doubts linger.  Instead of leading our child on this pathway of faith, we give our children the glib responses that we don’t truly believe.

While making spiritual conversations with your children doesn’t take a lot of training, it does take courage.

  • Be courageous – step out and speak to your child about their spiritual lives and beliefs.
  • Sit back and listen.  Don’t attempt to answer all their questions, or solve all their doubt.  As a parent of an adolescent or emerging adult, you should not be looking to convert them or change their beliefs.  You should seek understanding for yourself, and encourage them.  Adult children do not want you to preach at them.  If you seek to change them, these conversations will always end in conflict.  If you seek to listen to them, these conversations will lead to a deeper fuller relationship with your emerging adult.
  • Speak to your journey – trials, failures, victories, and hopes.  Share with your child your own experiences, while acknowledging their autonomy to make their own decisions.
  • Reflect and pray.  Don’t express your concerns to your child, but express your thoughts through praying to God.  Process what you hear with your spouse or friends.  Having community with others who are parenting emerging adults is essential for maintaining your sanity.
  • Repeat. 

May God grant you the faith and courage you need to faithfully parent your emerging adult children.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder of EA Resources.  He has a passion to encourage parents of emerging adults, and faith communities who want to minister to their needs.  If he can help your community, please contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

 

Professor’s response to student’s absence: Bring the baby

 

Morgan King and her daughter, Korbyn, pose for a picture. Morgan's professor offered to take care of Korbyn during class whenever King is unable to find childcare.

© Submitted by Morgan King

A University of Tennessee student got a heart-warming surprise when she emailed her professor about missing class last week.

 

Morgan King, who studies therapeutic recreation, emailed her professor, Sally Hunter, on June 15 to tell her she had had to miss class the day before because she couldn’t find child care for her daughter, Korbyn.

Read the rest of the story – here.

While many of today’s emerging adults are waiting to have children, it is important to know how to treat these young parents in today’s culture.

The reason that the story went viral is due to a professor embracing the challenges of an emerging adult.  Instead of telling the young mother to suck it up (or calling call her lazy and self-centered), this professor responded with a heart of service.

How can churches respond in the same way to today’s young adults?

Here is an article where I discuss how Millennials are now having children, and how the church can respond to serve them.

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

Quite a Few ‘Emerging Adults’ Are Smoking Pot Every Day

I found this article concerning marijuana use among emerging adults – and wanted to pass it along.

 

Credit: Rafael Castillo

Recently, The Lancet published the first-ever report of marijuana use by Americans aged 12 and over between 2002 and 2014 using data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The data and a discussion of their public health implications are included as part of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

A lot changed, marijuana-wise, between 2002 and 2014. State laws related to marijuana loosened considerably. Public support for legalization climbed significantly. And public perception of risk of using marijuana dropped off. How have these changes affected marijuana use and addiction?

Here is the complete article.

Almost 7% of emerging adults report using marijuana on a DAILY basis.  Those who report alcohol abuse is about 12%.  As those who minister to emerging adults, we need to be aware of this trend, and know how to respond.

The rise of marijuana and alcohol in this life phase could be due to several factors including:

  • newly acquired income
  • access to the “forbidden fruit” as they step into adulthood
  • independence from family
  • stress due to their high mobility rate and characteristics of this life phase

The article encourages those around them to ask them about marijuana use.

 

 

 

Why You Need the Church (And Not Just a Campus Ministry)

Russell Moore is president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention (Website Bio).  He has recently made news as one of the few Southern Baptists to question support for the direction of the Republican party.  While I would not agree with this man on several topics, I found this article on his website, and wanted to share it with my readers.

Please share with your graduating seniors.

May is graduation season. All across the country, thousands of high school seniors are getting ready to leave high school and hometown behind as they go off to college. This includes many Christian students, for whom a move to a new city means being away not just from the comforts of home, but from their home church. Away from the gathering of Christians they’ve known for years, many students will look to their school campus ministry to fill the void.

Here is the full article.

At the end of the article, he gives practical ways to stay connected to a church including:

  • Resist the temptation to keep your membership in your home church.
  • Join a church in your college town, as soon as you find one with a commitment to Christ and the Scripture.
  • Find a church where some people will know your name, and will know if you are not present.
  • Make a friend who will ask you where you were if you missed a weekend.
  • Spend some time with people in your congregation who are not in the same place in life as you–a lonely senior adult, a harried thirty-something Mom, a sarcastic fourteen year-old kid.
  • Pester the church leaders of the church for some way for you to exercise your gifts in the congregation–and let the leaders recognize and encourage your gifts.

What are some additional ideas for connecting with a new church community?