Last month, I wrote PART ONE of this discussion. Anyone who ministers to young adults understands that there are some unique challenges. However, young adult ministers are also absolutely convinced that the payoff is worth it as they pour into the next generation of church leaders.
As we minister to young adults, we must pay attention to the cultural realities and changes that are happening around us. Young adult ministry is ever-changing, but the message of the gospel still speaks hope and life and truth into all our lives.
Here is part two of 10 trends in college and young adult ministry:
6. The long-term effects of cell phones and Internet connectivity are fully emerging with today’s students. This generation of college students has always had the Internet and cell phones. Certainly, these tools offer a lot of benefit to society, but along with constant connectivity, we are beginning to see some negative side effects. Those in young adult ministry must determine where they need to help young adults connect in different ways vs. where they need to adapt and take advantage of the technology that young adults have embraced.
7. Traditional funding sources are increasingly shrinking for young adult ministry. This is another trend seen most evident in college ministry. Many state conventions are having to make financial cuts, and college ministry is often one of the largest budget items they must consider. The mission of reaching young adults is of utmost importance, so I appreciate those who have determined to utilize new methods and models to make sure young adults continue to be reached with the gospel, despite budget constraints.
8. Racial tensions/questions are growing. This is such a heavy issue that we must be intentional about helping young adults think through and process. This generation of young adults offers great hope for taking major steps forward in bridging this divide. This is where we must lean on our minority brothers and sisters for help and guidance. Often, those of us who have grown up primarily in white circles don’t even know or understand many of the systemic issues that are at work here.
9. The growth of community college systems and online degrees shouldn’t be ignored. Many states are offering incentives to push students into community colleges, and more and more young adults are questioning if a traditional college degree is “worth it.” Churches must think through how they will respond to the growing number of college students that might be in their own backyard, attending community college or getting online degrees. Reaching these students will take new ministry strategy, but there is huge potential for churches who are willing to try.
10. Young adults display an increased desire for mentorship. Young adults crave someone older to show interest in them and help them navigate life’s journey. This is another trend that offers great potential for churches who are willing to step in and help create systems for discipleship of college students, using mature believers for mentorship.
There you have it—10 trends in young adult ministry. These trends represent a unique mix of hard challenges and exciting opportunities. I’m grateful for how you selflessly face these challenges each and every day for the sake of the mission of reaching young adults. Being a part of building His Kingdom is worth the sacrifice!
Bill Noe is the Collegiate Ministry Specialist at Lifeway Christian Resources. A former campus minister (and current collegiate ministry volunteer at church), Bill loves being a part of seeing college students grow in their walk with the Lord. Connect with Bill on Twitter.