Is there life
One of the most awkward and frustrating times of life is adolescence. It’s a time filled with turmoil and questioning. But beyond those years is another phase of life that may be just as important in terms of self-discovery and forming who we are and how we live. Jeffrey Jensen Arnett gives a name to this period from our late teens into our mid-to-late-20s, as he titles his book Emerging Adulthood (Oxford University Press, 2004, ISBN# 0-19-517314-7).
According to Arnett, once we leave high school we enter a period where we are no longer adolescents, but are also not quite adults. Arnett has spent a lot of time studying this topic as a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development at the
How does this apply to the church? It seems churches have never really understood how to minister effectively to the post-HS crowd. Most “college and career” ministries within the church are a mere shadow of traditional youth ministry. Anyone who seeks to minister to the group we have traditionally dubbed “young adults” would benefit from reading Arnett’s research, as he tackles the implications of emerging adulthood, particularly in how it effects the issues of family, love and sex, marriage, college, work, and faith. George Barna’s research indicates that less than one-third of all teens are likely to attend church once they are living independent of their parents. Too often we think we have done our job if we have “successfully” navigated our kids through high school youth group … but it is imperative we understand what happens after that and learn how to minister to them as they work through their new found independence.
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©2005, The Center for Parent/Youth Understanding