The Difference Between Church-Based College Ministry and Campus-Based

I read this article over the weekend, and thought it had some good thoughts for those working with emerging adults.  The author, Arliss served as Baptist Campus Minister at Arkansas State University for 32 years. He now serves as Leadership Development Consultant for the Collegiate Ministry office at Lifeway Christian Resources.

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I spent 41 years doing campus based college ministry.  I recently started my second stint as an Interim Church Based College Minister.  One of the things I have believed in both positions is that a church based ministry should not look just like a campus based one.  There is and should be a difference in the two.  I would even go as far as to say that some churches are not doing a church based college ministry, but rather are doing their version of a campus based ministry.  The church I serve started the campus based BCM ministry on the local campus many years ago and continues to be one of it’s leading financial supporters.  So, we want it to succeed and we do not want to do anything that might harm what it is doing.

Read the rest of the article on Arliss’ website.

If you work with either church or campus-based ministry, join the EA Network. 

We need to come together for the sake of God’s Kingdom!


Creating a Mentoring Community for Emerging Adults

The three developmental tasks of adulthood are to discover vocation, establish autonomy, and develop community.  These tasks cannot be accomplished overnight, and emerging adults require support to accomplish these tasks.

In her book, Big Questions, Worthy Dreams, Sharon Parks states that one place where emerging adults can find this support is a mentoring community. Parks describes a mentoring community as “an environment or milieu that provides the right mix of support, challenge, opportunity, and inspiration.” (Article)  Mentoring communities can be formed in many social settings including: a classroom, laboratory, athletic team, residence hall, neighborhood or church. Regardless of the form, here is an overview of Park’s list of essential aspects for a mentoring community.

Park’s list of essential aspects for a mentoring community.

1.  Support

When developing a mentoring community, you must create an atmosphere where emerging adults feel supported through words and actions.  Although spiritual direction and encouragement are central to your ministry, your support must go beyond quips and Bible verses.  Your support must be abundantly clear, resulting in tangible acts.  Emerging adults must have their basic human needs met to focus on the developmental tasks of adulthood. (Read more about Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs as it pertains to adulthood.)

2.  Challenge

While providing support, you must also challenge emerging adults.  We must promote questions in order to cause growth and to stir them towards autonomy of beliefs and actions (Raising Expectations on Emerging Adults).  Good questions from mentors include: How is this working for you?, What do you think?, How would you respond?, and How does that apply or affect your life?

3.  Opportunity

Mentoring communities must provide opportunity.  Mentors seek to give meaningful work, training, and service opportunities to emerging adults.  These opportunities provide experiences and sharpen job skills which prepare emerging adults for future vocations.  Within your community, create opportunities where emerging adults can both serve and lead.

4.  Inspiration

Inspiration is essential to a mentoring environment.  Emerging adults must be “invited to imagine a future that can hold significance and purpose – both for self and for the larger world.”  (Article)  Inspiration produces hope, inspires dreams, and sparks motivation.  The living Word of God contains endless passages which can inspire emerging adults.

Each week as your community meets, evaluate whether or not you adding enough of these ingredients to help emerging adults grow and flourish.

If Dr. G. David Boyd can help your church design a community for emerging adults, you can contact him at  If you work with emerging adults (18-25), check out the EA Network.


Big Questions, Worthy Dreams by Sharon Parks

Emerging Adult Ministry – Reading List

Here are some resources that I recommend for those who want to minister to emerging adults.  Our recommendations does not mean that we agree with everything stated in the book, or with all beliefs of the author.

© 2014 Brittany Stevens, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

If you want to know the first book that you should read – my top pick…

Continue reading

They are not “College Kids”

Copyright by Aaron Roberts Photography

I recently read this piece online, and wanted to share it with my readers.  Enjoy!

College Kids!

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…

Read the entire article Here!

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.

Anatomy of Generations – by Wrong Hands

I came across this cartoon, and needed to share it with my readers.  There is plenty more laughter at the Wrong Hands website –  Click here.

anatomy of generations

I believe that laughter can be used to build bridges between the generations as long as it is equally given to each age group.  In this comic, as a Gen Xer, I am just happy that the author acknowledges our existence (sniff-sniff).

All joking aside –

There is a need for inter-generational relationships within the church.  Here are some links if you are interested in learning more about how to help your community connect.

David - Prof 2If you are looking for someone to speak to your community or staff about working together, contact Dr. G. David Boyd at

Survey for Emerging Adults (prior to launching an EA Community)

If you build it, they will come.

This may have been true in the movie, Field of Dreams.  However, I know many churches who have spent thousands of dollars to launch a community and failed.

One of the first steps to launching a community for emerging adults is to figure out who is around, and if they are interested in a community.   One way you can gather this information is through surveying emerging adults who attend your worship services.

There are several ways to complete the survey including:  online, table in the church foyer, or plan a target group.  Here are some questions to form your survey.

  1.  Demographic Questions (gender, age, living arrangements, occupation, education, income, relationship status, children)
  2. What would an exciting community for you look like?
  3.  Have you found meaningful community at our church?  If yes, where?  If no, why not?
  4. When would be a convenient time to gather emerging adults?
  5. What are the biggest challenges that you are currently facing in your life?
  6. How could our community assist you in those challenges?
  7. Have you found a meaningful role of service within our community?  If so, please let us know what that is.  If no, please let us know what role you would enjoy. 
  8. Would you be willing to help form or serve in a group focused on emerging adults?  If so, in what ways could you envision yourself playing a part?
  9. How should we communicate about the work that we will be doing?
  10. Who else do you think should be involved in this ministry?  Why?
  11. What would be important to you about this ministry? 
  12. Is our church community a welcoming place for emerging adults?  Why or why not?
  13. If you are interested in connecting with this community, how should we contact you?

Make sure you know what information you need before you form your questionnaire.  Don’t ask their income – if you don’t need that information (as it could offend the people you are seeking to reach).  Ask only what you need in order to form a plan to build your community.  

Surveys can also be a great way to gather information to present to the leadership at your church to show the necessity for this ministry.  Before you begin, make sure that you and your leadership team are on the same page.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Managing Director of EA Resources.  If he can help your community minister to emerging adults, please contact him at



Creating a Vision for Emerging Adult Ministry

A vision of a renewed Jerusalem was given by Nehemiah to rebuild the walls.  In Nehemiah 2:17-18, Nehemiah says,

group of girls

Photo courtesy of Aaron Robert Photography. Copyright 2014.

“You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace.” I also told them about the gracious hand of my God on me and what the king had said to me.”

Nehemiah starts with their present condition, and moves to where they should go by providing them a vision and a reminder that God is with them.

A vision does not provide a picture of the way things are, but an image of what could and should be.  It focuses a community on where they are going and what must be done to get there.  It unifies them as they work towards the common good.

If you are seeking a vision for how to minister to emerging adults, here are a few reflections:

Visions are God-given.

group of girls2

Photo courtesy of Aaron Robert Photography. Copyright 2014.

True visions cannot be copied.  You do not pick them up at a conference, or by mimicking another ministry model.  Visions come while seeking the presence of God.  Due to the overwhelming church-as-business culture, the terms vision and mission statement are often misconstrued to be synonymous when they are quite different.  We have been taught all visions must be easy to read, look nice in print, and be filled with hip lingo.  However, true visions do not require confirmation by human intellect, approval by church hierarchy, and cannot be minimized by available resources.  If you want a God-given vision cancel your conference, turn off the noise, and sit in the presence of God’s Spirit.

Visions are Spirit-led.

Leaders are always searching for evidence of the Spirit’s work.  They are constantly seeking for stirrings of spiritual growth, and wondering either how they can help, or how to get out of the way.  In Henry Blackabee’s study Experiencing God, he says, “Go to where God is at work, and join Him there.”

Due to the dynamic nature of our world, visions can change.  They are not eternal, but have a shelf-life which is often dependent upon leadership.  This doesn’t mean that the vision was wrong, but that it needs to shift due to our constantly changing world.

Visions are human-powered.

While visions are given by God, we are His hands and feet in this world to accomplish the work.  I Corinthians 3:9 says, “For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.”  We have the privilege of working side-by-side with others in God’s service.  Because developing and realizing your vision is so much work, it is important to enlist the help of a team.

Nehemiah couldn’t build the wall alone, and neither can you.  Look to God for a vision, seeking guidance by the Spirit, and recruit a team to work beside you.

David - Prof 2Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.  (Proverbs 29:18)

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.

7 Reasons NOT to bring Emerging Adults under your Youth Ministry

Photo Courtesy of Aaron Robert Photography. Copyright 2014.

One of the first obstacles to overcome when a community desires to minister to emerging adults is the question of leadership.  As already overwhelmed staff and volunteers exchanged fearful glances around the table, this question of responsibility often keeps church communities from moving ahead.  Continue reading

Essential Website Resources for those Ministering to Emerging Adults

Lgroup of eaast week, I shared some free on-line resources for parents of emerging adults.  If you missed it, you can find it – HERE!

While there are not many free on-line resources for those seeking to help emerging adults, here are a few that I have found essential.

  •  FullerYouthInstitute.   I appreciate all the work done by Dr. Kara Powell and her team.  The link above provides many free resources to churches.
  • – The Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood is an organization launched by Jeffrey Arnett.  They provide a listing of free resources for those interested in studying young adults.
  • Chuck Bomar’s Blog.  Chuck has written several books about college ministry and the changing world of emerging adult faith.
  •  An organization that has spun off from Chuck Bomar.  The blog is not regularly up-dated, but contains articles that apply directly towards those doing college ministry.
  • EA Resources – Emerging Adult Resources is my favorite – of course!  Our desire is to design and publish resources for churches, parents, and emerging adults.   Click here, if you want to join our team to make this happen.

If you would like to recommend a website to this list, please contact Dr. G. David Boyd at

McDonalds faces ‘Millennial’ Problem

I am a pretty big fan of McDonalds.  I was actually there early this morning.  Sitting at a hightop table working on my computer while sipping my large sweet tea and making good use of their free wifi.

So I am sad to hear the news that McDonalds sales are slumping due to the majority of Millennials who prefer other restaurants (however, I won’t be losing any sleep over it).  Here is the article.  McDonalds must make changes and shift with the changing culture if it wants to stay at the top of the industry.

While it is not important to me whether or not Millennials are going to McDonalds, it does bother me to know that so many emerging adults are leaving the Church behind.  I believe that a spiritual community is foundation for a follower of Christ.

This week, I am consulting with a church in Austin, MN.  This church has a desire to reach the Millennials in their town, and I look forward to how God is going to speak to us.

If your church is interested in reaching the Millennials in your community but doesn’t know where to begin, please let me know.  I would love the opportunity to come alongside your group as we seek to reach a new generation.

david in hat - blackDr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.  If you are interested in having him speak to your community about Millennals, and how your church can build a ministry to emerging adults, you can contact him at