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:
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.
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