Spiritual Challenges of Emerging Adults

Spiritual Challenges of Emerging Adults

How to minister to the unique spiritual needs of 18- to 30-year-olds
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Challenge emerging adults to explore and resolve spiritual doubts. Questioning their faith and trying to understand where Christianity fits within our increasingly diverse culture is a healthy way for emerging adults to pursue their Christian identity. Wise disciplemakers therefore help them unearth and then address spiritual doubt. Someone once said, "By God's grace, truth is revealed, not exhausted, by investigation." In the history of our faith, many great Christians have encountered doubt: John the Baptist, Augustine, Martin Luther, Josh McDowell, Billy Graham. Help young adults find resources and biographies to investigate how others have resolved issues of faith.


Ask questions that allow you to assess movement. Jacqui was discouraged about her mentoring times with Alissa when she came to talk with me (Jana). She felt like the time she was spending with Alissa was keeping her from making progress. I let her talk for a while about her frustrations and then I asked her, "As you look back over the last six months with Alissa, where have you seen her change or grow?" She looked at me, cocked her head to the side and thought for a few minutes. Slowly she began to tell me about how they had come to a place of mutual trust in their sharing. Then she listed two or three areas where Alissa had taken positive steps in her walk with Christ. A significant step had been taken in a family relationship as well. I sat back and smiled. Then she smiled. Then we took some time to celebrate the movement of the Lord in Alissa's life. Understanding how the Lord had been working in Alissa's life gave Jacqui insight into how to facilitate further movement in their times together. Realizing that the Lord was at work even if she did not always see it also gave Jacqui more peace about the process. Other reflection questions you might ask yourself are:

Where do I see God growing him in regard to the Christlife (trust, submission, and love)?
Where does our relating/studying/praying feel dynamic? Where does it feel stagnant?
What would draw us into a deeper conversation with Christ?
How do I sense the Spirit nudging her in the area of loving others in her life? How responsive is she to that nudging?

Help them reflect on a vision for purposeful living in everyday circumstances. Though it's worthwhile to set long-term spiritual goals, young adults also need to be challenged to find spiritual purpose and live out their identity in everyday ways. Integrating our "spiritual persona" with our "everyday persona" means living with a spiritual mindset in the nooks and crannies of our day. We never really know all that God is choosing to accomplish in the spiritual realms through our everyday actions.

A story is told of a Mr. Genor in Sydney, Australia, who spent a portion of each day standing at a corner on George Street. His goal was to be a simple witness to ten people every day. After 40 years of being faithful to that goal, he had never heard that even one person turned to Christ on his account. Without knowing of Mr. Genor, a pastor from England continually rubbed shoulders with people who talked about the influence one particular man (whose name they didn't even know) had had on them. He decided to track down both the man and his impact. An extensive count determined that at least 146,100 people from all walks of life had been influenced for Jesus by the faithfulness of this little, unknown man.

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