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Momentum Young Adults Magazine

5 Young Adult Ministry Lessons

Thu, 16 Jan 2014 - 1:40 PM CST

I have been in Young Adults (or College Age, 18 & Older, or Whatever You Want to Call Them) ministry for 11 years and have had my fair share of successes, and let's be honest, an even greater share of failures. I'm not going to pretend to know all there is to know and give an extensive how-to seminar for a Successful, Contemporary and Relevant (or SucTemporVant) Young Adult Ministry, but there are a few important lessons I've learned and things I've picked up concerning Young Adults along the way.

First, a definition of Young Adults as it pertains to ministry... hmmm... I don't really know for sure. They are usually the former Youth students who came out of High School and still have a desire to be at church. They are typically over the age of 18 and under 29 (though over the years I technically have had "Young Adults" under 18 and into their 40's). The biggest thing that sets them apart is they are desperately trying to find their own place and determine what defines them and sets them apart from everyone else. 

They want to belong, and they want to stand out at the same time. So here are some lessons I've learned about Young Adults:

  1. They don't want to be treated like youth, but they do still want to have fun and be silly...or put another way, they do still want to be treated like youth, but they want the respect of their adulthood from the adults in their lives.
  2. They want, no NEED, a cause/injustice/mission/purpose - SOMETHING to rally behind and give them a feeling of purpose. They struggle with feelings of inadequacy, and desperately want to make some kind of difference somewhere. Give them a place, or better yet, several places, to do that.
  3. They will rise as high as you set the bar. If you want level 2 leaders, set the bar at 3. You want level 10 leaders, set the bar at 11. Wherever it is you set your expectation, that is where they will rise to. Communicate your expectations clearly. Compliment your leaders often. 
  4. They need approval and encouragement. Give them a nod, and they'll trust you; a hug and they'll believe you; a word of encouragement and they'll follow you; or a simple "I Love You," and they will go with you anywhere.
  5. They are the ones who have been put on the front lines for thousands of years - for a reason. They are driven by passion, directed by zeal, compelled by their emotions and lack of inhibitions. Use their passion, gently guide their zeal, touch their emotions and teach proper inhibitions. They will be your front line and when they stand for a cause they truly believe in, they will be your invasion.

In addition - LOVE the unlovable. WANT the unwanted, NEED the unneeded. USE the unused and seemingly unusable. It is easy as a leader, director, or pastor to gravitate to the most skilled, talented and dynamic people while assuming or even overlooking their individual integrity, passion for people, and love of God. Skills and talents come and go and can easily be taught and trained. Integrity, passion, and love come from within, defined by and defining the core of the character of each person. Look for those people and invest everything you have in them. They will do your job for you. Jesus modeled this in His choice of His inner circle, those he invested in most, His disciples.


Connect with Steve on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/iamstevewithey

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