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?

Hatred for that Cat in the Cradle.

I listen to various types of music – disco, Motown, classic rock, and current tunes.  There are very few classic songs that I do not love.

However, there is one song that I have hated my entire life.  A song that makes my skin crawl.  A song that will always make me change the radio station.  “Cat’s in the Cradle” is a 1974 folk rock song by Harry Chapin from the album Verities & Balderdash. 

The song is too depressing, and I still hate it.  Apparently my children feel the same way, because they now throw a fit anytime they hear it.

The song was highlighted in an episode of the Middle.

Here is the original scene.  I am a fan of the Middle – Here is a post that I dedicated to the show.   The Middle will give parents an outside perspective of the issues facing emerging adults – with ALOT of laughter.

The second video definitely lightens the mood.  Here is the video.

While in the midst of raising your children, remember that like other life stages – emerging adulthood has its trials and blessings.

Remember to minimize the trials, and focus on the blessings. 

 

 

Listening to Young Atheists: Lessons for a Stronger Christianity

When it comes to responding to the Millennial Exodus, churches rarely know how to respond.  Many churches seek answers from bloggers who seem obsessed with talking about tight pants and fog machines.

Atheist from Flickr via Wylio

© 2013 JouWatch, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

It is crucial that the church stop listening to themselves, and start listening to millennials who have left.  EA Resources actually is willing to pay for millennials who will take the time to express why they have left the church.  If you know someone who is willing to share, please tag them in article, and they can contact me at gdavid@earesources.org.

Here is an article that encourages us to listen to Atheists about why they left in order to strengthen the church.  Happy reading –

“Church became all about ceremony, handholding, and kumbaya,” Phil said with a look of disgust. “I missed my old youth pastor. He actually knew the Bible.” 

I have known a lot of atheists. The late Christopher Hitchens was a friend with whom I debated, road tripped, and even had a lengthy private Bible study.

Here is the full article – LINK.

What do you think about these points?

  • They felt their churches offered superficial answers to life’s difficult questions.
  • They expressed their respect for those ministers who took the Bible seriously.
  • Ages 14-17 were decisive.
  • The decision to embrace unbelief was often an emotional one.
  • The internet factored heavily into their conversion to atheism.

As millennials leave the church, we must understand that their exit is rarely something that comes without thought or cost.  Their decision to embrace unbelief is a journey that has stretched their social, emotional and mental stamina.

If Dr. Boyd can assist your community in how to minister to emerging adults, please contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

I came across a neat resource put out by the Faith Communities Today national surveys of American congregations.  The resource is produced by Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi, Director of the Center for Analytics, Research and Data in the United Church of Christ.

Click here to see the full resource.

Here were two interesting quotes from the paper.

  • In general, congregations that increased young adult participation over the last three years gained an average of nearly 20 young adults per congregation (with an increase of five young adults being the most frequent number reported).
  • Other characteristics of critical mass young adult congregations include higher likelihoods that the majority of regularly participating adults are theologically conservative the congregation has higher percentages of children and youth, and the congregation prioritizes engaging young adults.

If you want to attract emerging adults.  You must prioritize emerging adults.  Rather than giving lip-service to reaching young adults, the priorities of your church are revealed through your website and other forms of communications, budget, and staffing.

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.

 

Young People Are Leading the Way. Will The Church Follow?

I read this article over the weekend, and wanted to share it with the EA Network.  The title of the article is fascinates me.  Instead of assuming that we ask emerging adults to lead the church, we should assume that they are already leading the church.  We should then ask the question, “Where are they leading us?”

The answer is simply that many of them are leaving established religious organizations.  There is plenty of research to support this fact – which I often refer to the Millennial Exodus.  If you want to read about the Millennial Exodus, and read stories of why they are leaving, search the website under Millennial Exodus.

Here is the article.

Most of the studies I have seen on young adults and faith indicate that young people are leaving the church in record numbers. According to the source, anywhere from 60-70% of young people drop out of church in their college years. Almost weekly another article surfaces explaining the latest reasons young people are leaving churches. Surely there is a lot to lament here, but I’m not sure these doomsday reports tell the full story.

Click here for the rest of the story.

 

 

A New Swag Bag for Seniors: Rethinking the Church Graduation Rite of Passage

Some of my work was just released by Youth Specialties.  Please check it out.

Spring is here, and many churches are set to once again launch a group of seniors. Parties will be hosted.  Pictures will be shown. Bibles will be distributed. Graduation banquets will be held. As someone who has led many of these events, here is my revised list of what I believe seniors should be given as they leave.

Here is the rest of the article.

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

 

Hosting a Meaningful Graduation Party: 8 Short and Sweet Pieces of Advice

© 2007 Andrew Schwegler, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

1.  Talk about Expectations with your Child.

Discuss what you both feel is important for the party.  I know some graduates chose a family vacation rather than a graduation party.  If you choose to have a party, speak frankly about what you most want from an event.  While reflecting on her experiences, one mother writes, “For me, great food and a warm welcome for each guest is of the utmost important.”  Knowing what you, your spouse, and your child desire is crucial to a successful party.

2.  Establish graduation as a rite of passage in their lives and yours.

Western society has lost the significance of rites of passage in an individual’s life.  Graduating from high school is a time to celebrate, but it should be so more.  “Experiencing a rite of passage allows young people to let go of childlike behavior and to begin taking on adult responsibilities and their accompanying consequences.”  (Rite of Passage Parenting)  Find a time during this season of life when you can incorporate a “rite of passage” with your child.

3.  Simplify everything.

Parties tend  to snowball over time; therefore, start simple, and stick to the plan.  This time may not be the best opportunity to plan renovations to your home.  If you attend many open houses, you will be tempted to add to the menu, the decorations, or invitation list.  I encourage you to fight conformity, and simply design your party uniquely around your family.  One parent writes, “Keep it simple – don’t buy into the “over the top” parties.  Do only those things that will honor your student and don’t try to compete to meet the standards set by other graduation parties.”

4.  Be selective in your invites.

In today’s world of social media invitations, people sometimes feel as if they have to invite everyone they know rather than who they actually want to invite.  Many parents and students feel overwhelmed by the crowd of people that parade through in a few short hours.  If numbers are not important, restrict your party to just close family and friends.  This allows more time to actually connect than simply up-dating them on what you are doing fall.

5.  Write down and record memories.

© 2004 Mat_the_W, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

As with any party, you and your child will be overwhelmed with people arriving, giving gifts, talking, and then leaving.  It is important to have a way to record memories from the day whether it is someone taking videos, pictures, or a guest book.

6.  Take time to reflect.

Many parents and students feel social pressure to not only host a party, but to attend an endless season of party jumping.  In the midst of this hectic time, set aside quite time as a family to reflect on the changes that are occurring in your family.

7.  Start planning early.

© 2004 Mat_the_W, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

If you need to rent equipment (tables and chairs), then you will need to call early.  Borrowing from friends and neighbors will take some time.  As with any period of change, you should expect your emotions and stress level to be elevated in you and your child.  The sooner you start to plan, the easier it will be to make decisions and stay under budget.

8.  Get help before, after, and during the Party.

One parents expresses how, “It is NOT possible to do it all on your own.”   “Have a close friend or family member take care of replenishing food and taking care of all kitchen responsibilities.  This frees the parents up to be able to visit.”  The work required for a party takes many hands, so make sure that you ask your community to help.

david in hat - blackDr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit designed to equip parents and churches for the Emerging Adult years.

Resources:

Deeply to the Bone, Donald Grimes

Rite of Passage Parenting, Walker Moore