Others, though, see this issue through the same lens as they do other things kids need to know about the world. It's why they say, "Do your homework, even if it's a struggle" or "Let me teach you something about life you don't know even know to ask about." By bringing it to the young person, he/she has a chance to dialogue about faith and its alternatives growing up versus not having this experience at all.
What's intriguing is that in both cases there comes a point in adulthood when an emerging adult needs to decide what they will do with what they have or haven't been offered from their parents and other adults.
I had a great chat with a number of great thinkers and question-askers recently about the hurdle of faith after high school. It was all apart of an online talk forum I hosted for Tim Schmoyer of Life In Student Ministry. It even tracked back to how we invest into kids all the way up to teenagers.
Some key thoughts from the show:
- Churches face a temptation to “throw a college” ministry at emerging adults. Perhaps because it’s easier to push large group environments that feel like candy versus mentoring that isn’t quite as glamorous and marketable.
- Emerging adults are finding community elsewhere – in drinking a beer or a fraternity/sorority. We need to ask “Why?” Is it because these environments are more appealing to “let them be where they are today?”
- Our trend as a church is to draw people to a maturity level they aren’t at. Do emerging adults struggle with this?
- We need to destroy the idea of a finish line that ends at high school and move it at least four years further. Even then, it’s not a true finish line but more of a point where we have helped shape an understand of what self-feeding Christianity looks like and how they can contribute into the state of the church (and it’s plans for ministry).
- Success is perhaps best defined in terms of identity – a young person finishing high school or college and knowing with conviction how they are a son or daughter of God.
- Some of the greatest stories of us doing this well almost always involve a person or two who checked in on emerging adults semi-regularly to remind them who they were and wanted to become.
- We need to see church as a family and not as a program.
- One idea: Start to paint a picture of this early on during elementary years – what it looks like to become an adult who is walking with Christ in a healthy way and turning around to invest into the next generation; utilizing “identity based” curriculum during the last two years of high school; helping the church know “who” has graduated and what is next for them so that they don’t become a statistic; and so on.