Wednesday, October 21, 2009
emerging adults and emerging church
Christianity Today has a feature “Lost in Transition“, exploring emerging adult research and a new book, Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults, by sociologist Christian Smith. It is based on the fact that sociologically, about 12 years currently exists between being a young person and settling down to family. It includes a fascinating suggestion that young adults fit into 6 broad categories: Traditionalist (15%); Selecting adherents (30%); Spiritually open (15%); Religiously indifferent (25%); Religiously disconnected (5%); Irreligious (10%).
The missiologist in me wants to be asking if churches in Australasia (having watched today this TV program regarding the future of Sydney Anglicanism) currently strong in young adult ministry are actually only more likely to be targetting/reinforcing belief among say the Traditionalist.
Here were some quotes that struck me: Firstly in response to the question: Do emerging adults like the emergent church?
The bottom-line answer is yes. Emergent churches are on to something that seems to connect better with this wave of young people … Where it exists, your average emerging adult would find it more intriguing and more engaging than a traditional approach. But I would caution that emerging adults are smart about when they are being marketed to. So if the emergent church doesn’t offer something genuinely different from what emerging adults have too much of already, they’re not going to give it two seconds of attention.
Second, the essential role of parents in faith development.
The most important factor is parents. For better or worse, parents are tremendously important in shaping their children’s faith trajectories.
Third, the need for churches and leadership with creativity and imagination!
To connect with emerging adults is going to take more creativity and initiative than I see at the moment.