Vocation Group for Emerging Adults

If churches want to engage young adults, it is crucial that they understand the needs of emerging adults.  One challenge facing emerging adults is to establish a vocation.  Here is an article that discusses how a community has developed a program to minister to emerging adults.

Samuel Group is a discernment group for young adults, ages 18-39, who meet together once a month from September through March in order to study, pray, and discover their individual vocations or lifetime call from God. The purpose of the program is to equip young adults with the tools they need to approach vocational discernment with peace, joy and confidence.         

The program has a three-fold goal for each candidate:

— to know oneself

— to know Jesus

— to know one’s role in the church and in the world


Here is the rest of the article.

Made for Maturity – Maslow’s Basic Human Needs and Human Development


When discussing basic human needs, most people are familiar with the work of Maslow and his pyramid of basic humans needs.  Maslow’s five basic human needs were:  physical, safety, social, esteem, and self-actualization.  His pyramid was built upon the premise that when one need is fulfilled a person seeks to fulfill the next one.  Maslow believed that people are motivated to achieve certain basic needs. For example, after sitting on a couch for several hours, our physiological need to eat, drink, or go to the bathroom will pull us away from any video game not matter how exciting (or mind-numbing).

Maslow Hierarchy - Up-dated

Maslow’s Hierarchy up-dated for today’s wired world.

My three developmental tasks of adulthood – discovering vocation, developing community, and establishing autonomy– are internally motivated because humans were created with desires to love, to be free, and to be needed.  These basic human needs are based upon God’s creative design.  Since each developmental tasks is rooted in a basic human need, individuals do not need to be convinced of their importance, but will naturally work towards their fulfillment.

Vocation – Humans desire to be needed.

Humans desire to have a role in their world that makes an impact upon our self and the lives of others.  Vocation provides us the ability to be useful and make a difference in this world.  While paid vocation often fulfills other human desires (like income for physiological needs and security), it also fulfills our God-given desire to work, create, and design.  God is a worker, and is glorified as we follow His ways.  Work was not a result of the fall, but the ability to work is a gift (Genesis 3:17-18).

 Autonomy – Humans desire to be free.

Regardless of your theological beliefs concerning determinism or free-will, thoughts of being controlled or unable to affect the outcome of your life can lead to depression, anxiety, or apathy.  Autonomy is the ability to make decisions and deal with the consequences.  A sense of autonomy allows the individual to see they can make decisions that will change the outcome of their life.  Autonomy provides hope and motivation to the individual to affect our current circumstances.

Community – Humans desire to be loved.

We seek community because we desire to love and to be loved.  Our God is capable of love, and of relationships with His creation.  Veith states, “From the beginning, God put us in families, tribes, societies.  God ordained that we be in relationships.  He ordained that we need each other.”  (God at Work, 2002, 41).

When our basic needs (vocation, autonomy, and community) are unmet, we are motivated to action.  Our desires increase in intensity the longer they remain unmet.  A lack of desire to meet these needs can be rooted in a disability, an addiction (drugs, alcohol, or entertainment) or depression.

The church must seek to meet the needs of emerging adults, through offering assistance in their journey to meet the basic human needs of vocation, autonomy, and community.  I believe that church who create mentoring environments focused on these needs will draw and retain emerging adults.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources, a non-profit that exists to help parents and churches understand the challenges of emerging adulthood.



Making Work Meaningful: 3 Steps from Psychology and Theology to Kickstart Meaning in Your Work

Men at Work from Flickr via Wylio

© 2014 swong95765, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

Several years ago I became good friends with a guy who remodeled houses. He worked a lot of small jobs, often bathroom makeovers, and he was passionate about what he did. He never cut corners, and he often added “extras” even when they would likely go unnoticed. He was a devout Christian who took pride in running an ethically grounded business, and he looked for opportunities to talk about his faith with his customers. Beyond all that, he made a point of donating usable lumber, fixtures, and furniture that he removed in various projects to people or organizations who needed those things. This was extra work, but he figured it was a way to help those without many resources, while also reducing the waste that would end up in a landfill.

Here is the full article.

Bryan Dik is associate professor of counseling psychology at Colorado State University and is co-founder and is Chief Science Officer for jobZology. He is co-author of Make Your Job a Calling: How the Psychology of Vocation Can Change Your Life at Work. Read his other post on the psychology and theology of vocation here and here.

Your Job Isn’t the Problem.

Your Job Isn't the Problem, Your Attitude IsAre you in a job that isn’t what you had always dreamed about?  Here is an article that teaches a proper perspective of work.

Another recent article by CBS suggests that Millennials are too spoiled for the workplace.  I don’t believe in generation bashing.  It is unhealthy for society and the Church.

Anyone (regardless of age) can struggle with their current job for multiple reasons including stress, co-workers, or tasks.  A proper view of work and vocation is essential to keeping a positive attitude towards where God has currently placed you.

A proper view of vocation is also essential to a biblical view of adulthood.

If you are currently struggling with your current work, take a moment to read these links and ask God to give you a proper perspective towards what He has called you to do.


Helping Your Child “Survive and Thrive” at their First Job

As a high school junior, I got my first job working in a small independent bookstore.  Our small staff loved each other, and what we did.  I left school early to work each afternoon, and then on Saturdays.  I have to admit that it was a great job – no sweating in the summer heat, or over a grill.

My job taught me a lot, and made me excited not just about the money, but about what I learned.  Since then, my jobs have not all been that fun (painting the behind urinals at a local prison) or easy (like scraping windows on the third story of scaffolding), but my first job taught me to love work, and to work hard.

How to help your child thrive at their first job.

1.  Clarify priorities.

Photo courtesy of Aaron Robert Photography. www.aaronrobertphotography.com Copyright 2014.

The ability to make decisions based upon priorities is important skill as many will go to college where the academic and social options are endless.  Guide your child as they set their priorities.  One parent states:  “We encourage(d) our kids to prioritize: God, family, school, athletics & activities and finally work.”  Whether or not you agree with this family’s priorities, the discussion of priorities is essential.

When different opportunities arise (like school, work, or sports), adolescents need to learn the ability to say no to certain activities based on their priorities. One Emerging Adult reflects on how their choice to work affected other areas of their life.  “For me, work took the place of several extra-curricular activities.”   Do not allow your children to participate in everything, but force them to make choices at they get older.

2.  Set boundaries.

When adding a new role as worker (or employee), it is important for adolescents to set boundaries.  While vocational development and earning money may be important, it is not the only piece of your child’s development.  Therefore parents must help adolescents choose and uphold boundaries.

Here are some questions to discuss with your child:

a.  Will your child be allowed to work during family worship time?

b.  Will your child be allowed to miss other church activities? (Like youth group or retreats.)

c.  When will your child have access to a car?

d.  What hours/days of the week will your child be allowed to work?

e.  Are there restrictions on how paychecks will be spent?

f.  Who is responsible to pay for gas, insurance for the car?

One family described their rules, “[Our children] couldn’t work more than 15 hours a week.  They had to keep their grades up, to tithe (however much God led them to), and to save a little from each paycheck.

When a child [or their workplace] crosses a boundary, a parent has the right to enforce them.  This is not interfering, but parenting.  A parent does hold the ability to tell an adolescent that they can no longer work.  While living with their parents, our children need to know that holding a job, like all other adolescent activities is a privilege, and not their right.  Like other privileges, this freedom can be removed.

3.  Discuss expectations.

© 2011 DVIDSHUB, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

We all have expectations in life.  Sometimes adolescents know and communicate these expectation, but at others times they are hidden. If you want your child’s first work experience to be a success, discuss their expectations.  Ask your child what they expect in the areas of pay, hours, the type of work, the work environment, and their interactions with others.  If their expectations are unrealistic, help them research the facts on-line, rather than simply bursting their bubble.  Help them envision and define what success will look like for them whether it is becoming a manager, or making a friend.

Not everyone will have a dream job while in high school, but it can be a positive experience when priorities are established, expectations are discussed, and boundaries are set.  So whether your child is digging dirt, flipping burgers, or selling books – guide them in how to have a healthy perspective of vocation.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.  He is thankful for all those who helped him survive and thrive during his vocational journey.

Go Get a Job – The Developmental Reasons for Adolescents to Work during High School

While “Go Get a Job” can become the go-to response for parents whose children are regularly asking for money, getting a job is a big decision for both adolescents and their parents.  The purpose of this article is to help parents think through the reasons why an adolescents should get a job.   While getting your child away from the house may be helpful, as one parent said, “There needs to be a measurable, attainable goal.”

Here are some good reasons to allow your adolescent to “Go Get a Job:”

1.  Financial Need

Parents should communicate to their children through word and deed that they are not a source of endless money regardless of their life stage.  One parents says, “Whether or not my children get a job is up to them, but I will not be handing out free money.”  Saying no to your children’s financial demands is great motivation for them to get a job, and develops a sense of personal autonomy.

© 2008 Jason Tester Guerrilla Futures, Flickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio

I have seen so many parents take second jobs, and work around the clock in order to fulfill each demand of their adolescent children.  This is especially true in today’s world when college is perceived as an entitlement rather than an opportunity.  Speak regularly with your adolescents to set their expectations about college.  One parent says her children, “worked hard for the privilege of getting a higher education. I don’t think they’ll take it for granted, ever.”  Parents should not be seen as benefactors of their children, but both children and parents are participants within the family system.

2.  Learn Skills

Entry-level jobs can teach skills that are key to life development.  One emerging adults states, “A job helped me to learn skills to keep a work schedule, manage my own money and time, and interact with managers, bosses, and coworkers.”  Another Emerging Adult says, “As a soccer referee, I learned how to treat people professionally even when they don’t reciprocate.”  This emerging adult took his soccer knowledge, and turned it into a vocational skill.  Skills learned by adolescents include:  responsibility, time management, the value of work, working with others, working with customers, computer skills, dealing with authority, and business etiquette.

3.  Discern Vocation

© 2009 Alex France, Flickr | CC-BY-SA | via Wylio

Adolescents are ready to begin a life-long journey of finding work that will provide for themselves and those they love.  In these early jobs, emerging adults can learn what type of work fulfills them.  For example, an adolescent can learn whether they enjoy working with people, or working alone.  One emerging adult reflects, “I wish looking back that I had invested more in jobs that would have prepared me for a career after school, by focusing on getting administrative or service experience.  Instead, I went for what worked with my schedule and paid the most.”

 4.  Social Skills

While getting your kid out of the house should not be the only motivation, your child must learn to develop new social networks.  Learning social skills including:  listening, following authority, smiling, contributing to conversations, and managing conflict are crucial.  One emerging adult shares their experience.  “I just liked the job, because I had a friend who worked there so we had a blast working together, and all the adults in the place loved us and treated us like their kids. I’m still FB friends with most of them.”  Sometimes parents want to protect our children from outside influences during high school; however, it is important that adolescents are able to build their own social network.

 5.  Learn Autonomy

A workplace setting will require the adolescent to develop autonomy.  As a parent, you must allow them to make their own decisions and face the consequences.  It is not your job to wake them up for work each morning, to call their boss, or to fill out their paperwork.  If an adolescent’s first job comes through family connections, it is even more important that parents stay out of their work world, and allow the child to achieve or fail based upon their own performance.

There are several reasons to encourage your children venture out into the world of work.  One parent writes, “each family has to look at the individual kid and see what makes sense for them and the family.  Every child will be different.”

May God guide you as you reflect on your child’s developmental needs.

Dr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.

Vocation: Discerning Your Calling

Vocation: Discerning Your CallingI found this great article written by Dr. Tim Keller on defining vocation, and wanted to share it with my readers.  In 1989 Dr. Timothy J. Keller, his wife and three young sons moved to New York City to begin Redeemer Presbyterian Church.

I believe that Vocation is one the three developmental tasks of emerging adulthood.  It is crucial that emerging adults and their parents have a proper Christian perspective of what vocation does AND DOES NOT mean.

My Highlight

“Your vocation is a part of God’s work in the world, and God gives you resources for serving the human community.”


How to Get a Summer Job.

How to Get a Summer JobSummer is here, and many young adults are looking for a job.  While many jobs are already taken (Sorry, but you should have started a little sooner!), here is an article that can help you find work.

Remember your summer job is not about who you are, or what you will do for the rest of your life.  A summer job is following God’s direction into a position that can provide for you.

Here is another article that talks about Vocation.

Wherever you get placed, find ways to learn and enjoy it.


What is your E-VAC plan? (For Emerging Adults)

photo (2)I still remember the day that I had a fight with my parents, and told them I was moving out.  I was serious.  I packed my bags, and set them by the door.  They could not tell me what to do.  If I had to move to do my own thing, then I would.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have a car so I couldn’t leave.

I didn’t have a phone, so I couldn’t call a friend.

I didn’t have a job or money, so I couldn’t support myself.

Fortunately, my parents took me back because…

all I had was two grocery bags filled with my favorite toys.

You have been dreaming of the day you move out for the past several years, but have struggled with making that dream a reality.  When day comes for you to leave your home, I hope that you are more prepared than I was.  Do you know what it will take to successfully launch from your parents’ home?

The primary goal for emerging adults is not to simply move out.  It is also not always more healthy or godly for emerging adults to move out.  In Bible times, families often lived under one roof.  It is only among affluent nations in more recent times that the concept of moving out has become so tied with an individual reaching adulthood.

Here are three areas to develop in order to ensure a successful E-VACuation.

1.  Vocation

The childhood question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”   has become central in your mind.  Vocation is the means by which individuals fulfill purpose in their life.  Seek to discover a vocation that gives you purpose and provides a place in the bigger picture of life.  Although you might find great purpose in video games, art, or playing a sport, if it does not provide for your basic needs, you need to continue to seek work that will provide both purpose and provision. 


Prepare yourself for the journey ahead.  Are you seeking to discover a vocation?  As an emerging adult, you need to be researching occupations, seeking opportunities for skill development, gaining work experience, and finding occupational role models.  You don’t have to have your dream job to move out (if there is such a thing), but you should be making steps towards discovering a vocation.

2.  Autonomy

It takes more than money in order to be able to move out of your parents’ home.  The second developmental task of adulthood is to establish autonomy.  Autonomy can be defined as the ability to make one’s own decisions and to deal with the consequences.  You must break your dependency upon other humans (usually parents, but it could be anyone) in the decision-making process.  Many emerging adults are overwhelmed by the multitude of decisions that await them as they enter adulthood.

Some parents hinder their children’s autonomy by hovering over their decisions, and protecting them from the consequences of those decisions.  If your parents are hovering, ask them to allow you the freedom to take more responsibility.  It is important that you develop your autonomy by learning to make wise decisions, and not asking your parents to bail you out when you are in trouble.

3.  Community

HandsThe ability to develop a personal community is essential to becoming an adult.  Western culture tends to support independent living, but biblical principles support inter-dependent living.  God created humans for community with Him, and with one another.  As you move out, you will need to develop a new community to help you in the good and bad times.

You need to be equipped with the skills to seek and develop community.  Do you have the ability to walk across the room, and make new friends?  Do you have the ability to provide and receive help from others?  These social skills are essential for moving out, and require practice in order to develop.  Many emerging adults have spent their entire lives in one setting, and do not have experience in making new friends.  Seek out new settings in order to practice your social skills, and build a strong community network.

Your day to move out will come.  Don’t be caught off guard.  Get your E-VAC plan in place so you are prepared.

If you are interested in hosting a seminar for your church or school, on how to develop your own E-VAC plan, please contact Dr. G. David Boyd at gdavid@earesources.org.