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Ministry with Young Adults William J. Cork, D.Min. What Is a Young Adult? Young Adult 18-35 Young Adulthood Developmental Perspectives Tasks of Young Adulthood Developing Personal Identity Developing Relationships Developing Meaning for Work Developing a Spiritual Life Owned Faith

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ministry with young adults

Ministry with Young Adults

William J. Cork, D.Min.

what is a young adult
What Is a Young Adult?
  • Young
  • Adult
  • 18-35
young adulthood

Young Adulthood

Developmental Perspectives

tasks of young adulthood
Tasks of Young Adulthood
  • Developing Personal Identity
  • Developing Relationships
  • Developing Meaning for Work
  • Developing a Spiritual Life
styles of faith john westerhoff

Owned Faith

Searching Faith

Affiliative Faith

Experienced Faith

Styles of FaithJohn Westerhoff
young adulthood6

Young Adulthood

Sociological Perspectives

generational studies
Generational Studies
  • Baby Boomers (1945-1960)
  • Postmoderns
    • 1961 to 1981
      • Generation X
    • 1982 to …
      • Millennials
      • Generation Y
      • iGeneration
      • Generation ME


Should we be focusing on generations?

Or are we seeing a change of culture, that will impact all our ways of doing ministry?

young adults today
Young Adults Today
  • “I Am Special”
  • Follow My Dreams
    • Mobile
  • Cultural Diversity Assumed
  • Technologically Hardwired
  • Pragmatic
  • Materialistic
young adults today12
Young Adults Today
  • Extended Adolescence
  • High Expectations
  • Sexual Disconnection
    • “Hooking Up”
    • STDs
  • Relationships Matter
    • “Soul Mate”
young adults today13
Young Adults Today
  • Spiritual Hunger
    • Biblically Illiterate
  • Personal Experience Central
    • Moral Relativism
  • Desire to Serve
  • Crime Statistics Down
  • Better Relationships with Parents
what yas seek from church
What YAs Seek from Church
  • Sense of belonging & community
    • “Will you be there for me?”
  • Opportunities for involvement in church life
  • Meaningful worship services with experience of the holy
    • Silence is OK!
  • Spiritual growth and enrichment
    • Incorporate old and new
  • Understanding the faith
  • Guidance and direction
return or not
Return or Not?

1999 Survey of 200 young adults by Bill Cork

spiritual hunger
Spiritual Hunger

Frank DeSiano,Sowing New Seed, p. 79ff

  • “At worship, they don’t feel they have contact with God.”
  • “They will do whatever to takes for them to have a sense of contact with God.”
  • “If liturgy could present people with an experience of Christ, with contact with Jesus, it would come closer to what people are actually seeking today.”
other suppliers
Other Suppliers …
  • Willing to shop
    • “Twentysomethings were nearly 70% more likely than older adults to strongly assert that if they ‘cannot find a local church that will help them become more like Christ, then they will find people and groups that will, and connect with them instead of a local church’” (Barna 2006).
  • Other congregations (floaters)
  • House churches
  • Small groups
  • Individuals
  • Webpages
basic principles of yam
Basic Principles of YAM
  • Evangelize young adults
  • Nurture their spiritual life
  • Connect with community
  • Involve in mission
  • Prepare for leadership
growing a young adult ministry
Growing a Young Adult Ministry
  • Small core team of committed people
  • Support of someone on staff
  • Initial social events (with food) to get acquainted and to generate ideas
  • Build around a regular, consistent event
  • S3
    • Spiritual
    • Social
    • Service
  • Occasional regional or city-wide events
sabbath school

Sabbath School

Making it Young Adult Friendly

  • Emphasis on dialogue
  • Safe environment—all questions respected
  • Sharing of experience
  • Teachers who are
    • authentic
    • knowledgeable
    • unflappable
    • and have a sense of humor
the quarterly
The Quarterly

“Folks, believe it or not I can resonate with some of your concerns. The problem is simple: we have one guide for a whole world church, i.e., the folks who go to Chris Blake’s class, to the folks who congregate on benches in some room with no electricity, to folks in Copenhagen, to folks in Patagonia, to folks who have been in the church for 40 years, to those who have been in 40 days. How do you meet all those needs? You can’t.

the quarterly25
The Quarterly

“The ABSG is a guide. Repeat ‘Guide,’ that’s all. It says the world church is studying this topic today. Period.

“Beyond that, it has to be up to the teachers to contextualize it, to make it as much as possible meet the various needs all over the world. … It’s a guide; I tell people follow it as closely or as loosely as you need.”

--Clifford Goldstein

possible topics
Possible Topics
  • Relationships, dating, sex
  • Faith and fulfillment at work
  • Spirituality
  • Making a difference
  • Understanding Scripture and church teaching
reaching out

Reaching Out

In Mission to Young Adults

  • Time Away
  • Openness to Change
  • Focus on Relationship with Christ
  • Worship and Prayer
  • Building of Community
  • Fun
coffee houses
Coffee Houses
  • May meet in a church hall or in a restaurant
  • May include:
    • Live music
    • Food
    • Short talk
    • Q&A
    • Social period
  • Local service projects or mission trips
  • Plan your own or go with established agency
  • Plan well!
  • Learn about project and context first
  • Pray without ceasing
  • Theological reflection during and after
college students
College Students
  • Stay in contact with those away
  • Develop student ministry on campus
    • Adventist Christian Fellowship
  • Don’t forget about faculty and staff
  • TXAY: Texas Adventist Youth Leadership Convention
    • August 10-12, SMAU, Keene.
  • It’s hard to get “pulpit time” for oral announcements
  • Young adults don’t tend to read the bulletin, even if you are able to get something in it.
  • Best practices:
    • Personal invitation
    • E-mail and Text lists
    • Webpages / Facebook / MySpace