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…

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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 gdavid@earesources.org.



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. www.aaronrobertphotography.com

“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. www.aaronrobertphotography.com

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.

So You Want to Start a Young Adult Ministry

So You Want to Start a Young Adult MinistryI had rehearsed what I was going to say and had a response for each of the objections I was sure my pastor would enumerate. I waited until the waitress brought us our coffee, and then I began to share a bit of my heart with this man who had watched me grow up and in recent years had become more of a mentor. Continue reading

Recruiting a Team for Emerging Adult Ministry

If you desire to minister to emerging adults in your church, I highly encourage you to create a team.  Teamwork makes your journey more fun, and allows you to accomplish more than if you are working alone.  While a good team can expand your reach and ministry; however, a bad team can exhaust you and hold you back from making a difference.

So if you recruiting people to minister to emerging adults, here are some essential qualities.

1.  Community Builders

ftflagler-washington-pictures-4376127-h[1]These are the people that everyone wants to be around.  There is just something contagious about who they are, and what they bring into a room.  I actively recruit several “life-of-the-party” people before launching any type of small group or community, because they will be the glue that makes new people stick.  These people are your front-line welcome the new guests.  You want your new guests to walk away saying, “Wow, I really liked the people we met.”

2.  Accepting

Look for teammates who readily accept others for who they are and where they are in life.   Some people breathe judgmental attitudes, while others regularly speak their mind.  While I do believe in the gift of discernment, sometimes people claim this spiritual gift because they simply want to speak their mind.  After being raised with a postmodern mindset, emerging adults will run from those who claim to have all the answers.

Emerging adults must be safe to express who they are, and where they are truly at in their faith journey without fear of becoming a spiritual project of someone else within the group.  I want teammates who are gifted at asking questions, rather than giving advice.  A wise team will fully accept others for who they are, and wait for God to do the work.

3.  Consistent

One consistent worker is worth – twenty part-timers.  Due to the constant changes in their lives,  emerging adults are looking for consistency.  Emerging adults want to know who is going to be at meetings before they show up.  When looking for workers, I ask those who were not otherwise involved in church ministry because I want my teammates fully devoted to our goal.  Availability is also important because your teammates must have enough margin to be available to your group outside of your weekly scheduled meeting.

4.  Intergenerational

Your team should include emerging adults.  If you have no emerging adults on your team, you are already communicating that they are not capable of leading or contributing to the ministry.  Emerging adults have great potential to give and lead within any ministry.

Your team should also include other generations who have traveled further down life’s road and can offer a different perspective.  However, older adults need to understand that emerging adults are looking to develop relationships that involve give-and-take rather than downward-focused.  As the team enters each week with an expectation of receiving, it will be amazing what God will do in their lives as they serve.

While you may be overwhelmed by starting a ministry to emerging adults, the beauty about starting a ministry is that you can pick your team.  Choose wisely.  Spend time praying over who God is calling you to invite into this exciting movement.

david in hat - blackDr. G. David Boyd is the Founder and Managing Director of EA Resources.  He is passionate about seeing Emerging Adults survive and thrive in our world and the church.