Meet the Emerging Adult
What are you doing to reach them?
Christian Smith—a noted sociologist from Notre Dame and the author of Souls in Transition —makes the point in his book that we are now identifying a fifth stage to adulthood. This stage, called the emerging adult, happens between adolescence and adulthood. Emerging adults are those young adults who are about to graduate college or; have graduated college and now has arrived at the moment when we would expect them to get married, a job, have kids and settle down.
Christopher Smith points out what most parents have already discovered – emerging adults aren’t doing that. In fact, these young adults are postponing entrance into full-fledged adulthood. They may or may not get a job right off. They may or may not get married. Many are choosing to travel or volunteer for a year or two. (Think Peace Corp). They are postponing marriage, sometimes beyond the age of 30.
And a lot of them drop out of church. For whatever reason, emerging adults do not see church as being a vital part of their lives. In fact, most churches do not do well with single adults anyway, and we do even worse with this new group of young adults who are asking hard questions and choosing a longer path into traditional adulthood. Few churches, if any, are adequately reaching this age group. And yes, this is a crisis for the church.
So, let me ask you,
• Have you noticed in your churches the phenomena of emerging adults?
• How is your church responding?
• What have you found to be successful?
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