Conquering the ministry fog from young adults to adults (Observations)

Over the past two days, I have been in meetings with our Executive Minister, our Student Ministries Director and our Women’s minister in an effort to begin conquering the task of ministering to people who are transitioning from young adulthood to adulthood.

At SPCH, our reasonably loose definition of a young adult, is basically any person aged between 18 to 23-25 years old.  This means that anyone older than a young adult is considered an adult.

The reason why we have been meeting is because we have made the following observations in our church:

  1. In a basic poll of young adults, we have found that many have difficulty in naming even one person over 35 years old in our church whom they aspire to be like or want to learn anything from.  This is an indication of both a lack of access between the generations (disconnection) and also a diminished desire for young adults to actually want to be adults (disinterest) – ie who wants to be like their parents?
  2. Whereas, youth and young adult ministry is reasonably well defined in our church, ministries to adults are not well defined.  For example, our men’s ministry (Crewmen) caters for every male from ages 25-65 years old.  This is notoriously hard to define.  As a result, when we ask young adults “what is the perceived benefit of being part of our men’s ministry?”, many would struggle to come up with a reason that would warrant them invest energy or time in that unknown realm. 
  3. Moreover, because youth ministries and young adults ministries are well known to young adults, they may find it difficult to disengage from those “worlds” in order to engage with the “world” where their life-stages are taking them.  For example, we are finding more and more that young adults would love to stay involved in young adult ministries (and not ministries to adults) even when they’ve had their first children and are heading into their 30’s.  This is indicative of the great work those ministries have already been doing, and also probably a not-so-good job of adults engaging the young adults, but also an unwillingness for young adults to go beyond what they know into “the fog of the unknown” – ie the rest of their adult lives.

So how are we to minister to those disconnected, disinterested, disengaged … yet godly young adults?   Well we don’t know … yet … and hence we are going to start a discussion.

A way forward?

Given our observations, it seems an insurmountable task to plan the next move in ministry – like fog over that chess board!  But we’ve got to have a crack at it.

And whilst we have a go at it, let’s assume that I will be writing from a reformed, evangelical and anglican theological perspective.  So even if I don’t show all my “working” with decisions and observations, please assume my assumption.

As we continue our conversation among our staff and church, please keep looking out for further updates to this thread.  But if you have any awesome insights or you want to start a debate, then I’m all ears – email me at eric.cheung [at] spch.org.au or find me on twitter @itsEricCheung

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