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?

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.

 

Church Plants and Emerging Adults

I came across an article about how church plants are reaching emerging adults.

Sunday services at Five14 Church begin loud.

Worshippers are greeted into with heavy bass and synth beats. The morning starts off with a game, delivered by a standup comedian. At the nondenominational New Albany church, this is gospel.

Read the full article.

Here are a few highlights:

  • The number of adults in the U.S. who say they believe in God or regularly attend a religious service has been on the decline for years nationwide, but is on the rise in Ohio. 
  • They get a lot of explorers – people just looking for a deeper meaning to life, but who are not sure where to find it.
  • “I think if they decided to bring a really aggressive anti-LGBT, anti-self-expression, that might be an issue,” Brunsman says. (Someone who lives in the local community’s view of the new church.)
  • “[The Church] needs to be incarnate on the Internet.”

Other characteristics of this church includes – a relaxed, authentic atmosphere, loud and up-beat music, and an understanding that attenders may not be knowledgeable of Christianity. While these characteristics are not essential for attracting emerging adults, these communities have found a winning recipe for reversing the Millennial Exodus.

What do you think attracts emerging adults to a spiritual community?

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources, a non profit designed to equip churches and parents to minister to emerging adults.

Are Emerging Adults “Spiritual, but not Religious”?

I recently wrote about a conversation with a millennial, and his explanation of what this expression means.

If you are new to this expression, and would like to do a little reading, here is a resource from Patricia Snell Herzog who is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  She is a contributing author of Souls in Transition and Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood.

Here are some highlights of the article.

  •  RAAS (religious and also spiritual), RBNS (religious but not spiritual), SBNR (spiritual but not religious), and NRNS (not religious, not spiritual). The answer is that there are emerging adults in each of these four types, such that some emerging adults are SBNR and others are not.
  • Most spiritual-but-not-religious (SBnr) emerging adults believe in a higher power. Many attended religious services at one point in time, but have either lost interest in them or become antithetical to the religious approaches to which they were exposed.

Understanding the different types of “Spiritual, but not Religious” is crucial because in order to approach an emerging adult with the gospel, you need to understand how think, and what exactly they believe.  If you are looking for a good read, check out Generation Ex-Christian:  Why Young Christians are Leaving the Faith and How to Bring them Back  by Drew Dyck.

If you are looking to teach/share the concept of “Spiritual, but not religious” with a group, here is a lesson plan by the Institute for Faith and Learning.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Director of EA Resources, a nonprofit designed to equip churches and parents to minister to the needs of emerging adults.

 

Financing College – Taking Time to Laugh

Financing college can be difficult and stressful.  If you are in the midst of putting together a plan to finance an education, take some time to laugh.  Here is a great clip from the Middle, a show that is a must-watch for parents of emerging adults.

Check out this clip from the Middle.

Here are some additional articles that talk about finances.

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, please contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

“Adulting” Seminars – for emerging adults in your community

“Adulting” Schools have been active for a couple of years now.  If they are news to you, here is an article that can introduce you to the topic.  These events and schools are more about folding a sheet, but also build confidence and community for emerging adults.

I believe that churches and camps could offer “Adulting” Schools or Seminars for emerging adults – not in a demeaning way, but in a way to clarify and confirm their adulthood.

At EA Resources, we teach there is a biblical framework for what it means to be an adult.  The developmental markers of adulthood are to:  Discover Vocation, Establish Autonomy, and Develop Community.

Besides these main seminars, your church could offer breakout sessions on finances, career connections, cooking, or house-cleaning.

Here is a possible schedule:

             8:30   Registration – Welcome
              9:00-10:00 Directions to Adulthood:  Discover Vocation
             10:15-11:00 Seminar Sessions
              11:15- 12:15 Directions to Adulthood:  Establish Autonomy
              12:30-1:30 Lunch
               1:30 – 2:15   Seminar Sessions
                2:30 – 3:30   Directions to Adulthood:  Develop Community
               3:45 – 4:30   Seminar Sessions

If you are interested in discussing, how your community could host an Adulting Seminar, please contact Dr. Boyd at gdavid@earesources.org.

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, please contact him at gdavid@earesources.org.

“Adulting” Schools – for Emerging Adults

“Adulting” almost became the international word of the years.  Some schools have popped over the country in order to teach emerging adults how to be an adult.  I believe churches could also offer “adulting” seminars and conferences.  If your community is interested, you can contact me at gdavid@earesources.org.

It’s not that hard to figure out how to fold a fitted sheet.
Google it and you’ll get more than 2 million results. There are more than 35,000 results on YouTube, with the top video clocking more than 15 million views.
But it is one of those basic life skills that, along with cooking dinner, figuring out health insurance or changing a flat tire, falls within the world of “adulting” — a self-deprecating term to describe the vast universe of things millennials should know how to do but probably don’t. The Adulting School says it’s not their fault, and wants to help them figure it out.

Here is the rest of the article.