The steady decline of Church of Scotland membership to some 360,000 persons is well documented. It is therefore no surprise that linkages, closures and reduction in number from the prevailing 46 presbyteries are envisaged. However, the main challenge is the alarming lack of young adults attending church. In many congregations perhaps 70 per cent will be 60 years of age and more. It is no longer one generation missing, but two. This is the emergency which must be addressed even before the present structure of presbyteries is considered. Continue reading
I read an interesting article over the weekend, and I wanted to share with you.
While the article is not based on solid research, it does have some interesting points. Some that I do not agree with, and some that I do:
- “Parents have a responsibility to tell their children, to make sure that church is not an elective. It is a must.”
- “They’re important to the life of the ministry; they’re the next generation.”
- “they don’t see the church as relevant and so as a result, there’s been a falling away.”
- “Leaders have to let youth know the church is still relevant.”
- “I think my generation’s parenting has not given that demand of youth going to church.”
- “Churches spend too much time trying to be all things to all people and trying to become wealthy megachurches.”
What comments from the list do you disagree with?
I am excited about my double-header workshops for parents. Both workshops tie into my parental E-VAC Plan (or how to one day get them to evacuate!) The E-VAC plan focuses on the three developmental tasks of adulthood: Vocation, Autonomy, and Community.
Here are the workshop descriptions:
Preparing for Adolescence:
We will examine the facts and fables of human adolescence. You will gain an understanding of the developmental characteristics of adolescents and discuss how to equip them for adulthood. We will discuss practical methods of impacting your child’s spiritual development that will give them a faith that will stick beyond high school. You will walk away feeling equipped and encouraged in your own journey as a parent.
Directions to Adulthood – Preparing them for the Journey Ahead
Why does it seem that adolescents are taking longer to grow up? We will examine the causes of delayed development, and solutions being proposed. We will examine the biblical basis of adulthood, and how parents can help adolescents successfully move forward. This seminar will help you better understand your children, and encourage you during this new phase of parenting.
While hosting a Theology on Tap ministry may or may not fit your church context, here is an article that discusses how one church has found a way to connect with emerging adults. It also provides an introduction that all churches must answer regarding how to approach drinking alcohol among emerging adults.
EFFINGHAM — Glasses filled with wine and other alcoholic beverages were scattered atop a dimly lit table in Village Wine in Effingham. It’s an unsuspecting setting for prayer and religious discussion, but that’s what happened there on Jan. 19.
And it’s what happens there every third Thursday of the month for “Theology on Tap” meetings. The gatherings bring religion to young people in a relaxed environment.
Scroll down for highlights.
Here are some highlights of the article:
- “It’s a way to meet other young adults without needing the party scene,” Highlights Emerging Adults need for Community
- “Too many people don’t see the beauty in them,” she said. “The potential in them. The mystery.”
- “Theology on Tap is something a lot of churches around the world have adapted to reach young people. It brings people together in a responsible way.”
If you work with emerging adults, you will be working alongside both adolescents (who cannot legally drink) and those over the legal drinking age. As a ministry you will be challenged to establish policy and practices on what role drinking can have within your community.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself as you lead your community:
- How can we allow autonomy among emerging adults concerning this issue?
- What role(s) can drinking alcohol play in our community?
- Does your religious community have any policies regarding this issue among other adults?
- How do we identify when drinking as a group or for an individual might need addressed?
- Does your religious community have a policy regarding this issue among adolescents? How should it be the same? How should it be different?
- Is there a difference in policy and practice from when a gathering is attending/organized directly by a church representative than when community members organize their own outings?
- What values are driving our decisions?
I am sure there are more questions, please share your thoughts/questions below.
I recently read this piece online, and wanted to share it with my readers. Enjoy!
That phrase has come to evoke a nearly visceral response from me. When I hear it, I bite my tongue and muster all my strength to keep my eyes from rolling back in my head. (And then I have to repent of my pride and judgementalism.)
You see, thinking of college students as “kids” is one of the greatest barriers to effective collegiate ministry. College students are physically and legally adults in most cases. Calling students “kids” only gives them permission to indulge in juvenile behaviors and gives you permission not to take them seriously. And that’s just the thing…
Here are some practical ways that you can stop treating emerging adults like kids.
Collegiate Collective Collegiate Collective is working to elevate and advance the gospel on all college campuses globally by equipping, resourcing, and networking the leaders who are engaged in or interested in reaching students.
The author Chase Abner is the Lead Church Planting Catalyst in Iowa with the North American Mission Board and a consultant with the Salt Network in Ames, IA.
(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 Paul’s Story.
My household rarely has snacks in it, mainly because I eat whatever we have immediately. However, this very day a half eaten package of Oreos is in my cupboard. And now, as I type, I have no desire to eat the rest. I’ve eaten so many they don’t even taste good anymore.
And so it goes, with almost everything I consume. After playing video games for hours, I find them boring. After chasing wealth, I find that what I’ve gained doesn’t satisfy. These things are good in moderation, but overindulgence makes the desired loathsome. There is a distinct reason one of the wealthiest men in history said ‘the man who dies rich, dies disgraced.’ Constant sex eventually becomes mundane, drugs tear our bodies apart, rich foods become as disinteresting as stale bread. The promise of indulgence simply isn’t true.
There is another way.
Its figurehead tells us to do without, and make do with meager fare. He does not promise power or wealth or fame. The promise of this man is so much different than what the world promises.
The man I speak of is Christ, and he promises an entirely new way of life. In Matthew and Mark, Jesus lifts up the two greatest commandments; love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor. This is what the church offers; a place where wealth and fame and all other forms of worldly glory burn away.
We are all one in Christ Jesus. This relationship with God burns, but does not consume. The Kingdom of God promises an entirely different way of living in the world, one that brings me real satisfaction. Hoarding money doesn’t bring joy, sharing it does. I’m a Christian because I have seen the promises of indulgence fail me and those around me over and over. ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’
EA Resources is a faith-based non-profit organization that is dedicated to equipping parents and churches to understand Emerging Adults. Our desire is to provide quality resources for parents, churches, and friends who want to minister to emerging adults.
EA Resources has commissioned photographers to take photographs for churches to use as they seek to reach emerging adults.
If you are in need of free images of emerging adults for church publications(some of which are featured on our site), please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will email you a link where they can be downloaded.
If you are a photographer that would make your work available to churches, please contact us.
This seminar if from the Calvin Symposium on Worship from 2012. While it is a few years old, it speaks on an important topic of how emerging adulthood will affect the church.
The recording provides a definition of emerging adulthood and why this matters for the church in regard to how churches worship.
Todd Cioffi is assistant professor of Congregational and Ministry Studies at Calvin College and research fellow at the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship.
If you know of additional resources, please contact me at email@example.com.
Dr. G. David Boyd is the founder and managing director of EA Resources, and the EA Network. If he can equip your community to minister to emerging adults, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As someone who has taught thousands of Sunday School and bible studies, I know how a good curriculum can make or break an evening. When I launched a small group for emerging adults, it was difficult to find something that was both age appropriate and well-written. There is currently not a huge selection targeted to young adults, but I believe the number will grow as churches realize the unique challenges facing emerging adults.
As you work to make a curriculum work for you, here are some thoughts to help you.
Remember that curriculum is never a finished product. If your first look at the curriculum is while you are opening your group in prayer (I might know from previous experience.), then you are in trouble. Curriculum is a tool to help you craft your lesson. Never present curriculum to your group, but use curriculum as a tool to create something crafted specifically for your community.
Become a student of emerging adults. If you already possess a knowledge of the characteristics and challenges of emerging adulthood, then you can take any curriculum designed for adults, and use it for your group. If the rest of the church is doing a specific bible study together, then include your group. Using the same curriculum, can build bridges between emerging adults and the rest of the congregation.
Learn to ask great questions. Asking great questions doesn’t happen naturally, but takes time and skill. Asking the wrong question can leave the group silent and afraid to speak. Asking a great question can lead members of your group to share their knowledge, offer a different perspective, share from their personal journey, or demonstrate how to apply the lesson to their lives. If I were training a new small group leader, I would rather see a page full of great questions than pages of notes. Emerging adults want to participate in the group rather than be silent observers. Great questions are a pathway to participation.
Regularly ask your community what curriculum or studies have worked, and what has not worked. Your group members have an opinion, and likely are not afraid to share it. Each group is unique, and rather than mass-market Christianity, they may need something that speaks to your particular community.
Ask yourself the question, “What interests me?” Passion (or a lack thereof) within the teacher always comes out. If you are bored, then how do you expect others to pay attention?
Here is a list of curriculum for emerging adults.
If you know of additional resources, please contact me at email@example.com.
Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources and the EA Network. If he can equip your community to minister to emerging adults, contact him at www.earesources.org.