If you’ve spent any amount of time on social media lately, you know there is no shortage of hot topics hitting our news feeds these days. Abortion, politics, racism, gender issues, and the list goes on and on. These are not simple, trivial topics but rather culture-shaping issues that the college students and young adults in our ministries are grappling with daily.
Young adults have unprecedented access to information on these topics, but— perhaps like never before— they are craving the help of a community or mentor to help them wade through all the information and opinions that are out there. To help you be a positive resource in connecting with young adults on these issues, I want to suggest three habits you should seek to develop when handling the hot topics of our day.
1. Always let God’s Word be your anchor.
We live in a culture that seeks to value all opinions equally and certainly values individual opinions on a topic more than those found in a book written hundreds of years ago. The cultural pressure is strong. Your commitment to the Bible is important for young adults to see. Often, this requires more than pointing to a single verse but instead helping others submit to a complete worldview that is taught throughout Scripture. Modeling a submissive posture to God’s Word, even when it is more convenient or easier to abandon His teaching, is a must when serving as a mentor to today’s young adults.
2. Model how to disagree civilly.
The young adults in our ministries are sure to have friends who disagree with them on a variety of these hot topics. Relationships often rule the world of young adults. They would sometimes rather be wrong than risk fracturing an important relationship. If you can model for them how to protect relationships and value friendships even in the midst of disagreements on key issues, you will gift them with a skill that will help mark the Church with the kind of grace and friendship modeled by Jesus to a watching world.
3. Be known for loving others well.
This third habit is connected to number two, but it starts before the hot topic or disagreement even comes up. If you are known as a person who is quick to extend outstretched arms to others rather than a suspecting smirk, young adults will naturally be drawn to you as a person to help them maneuver these big life questions. They will feel safe asking you for help, and they will aspire to treat others the same way they see you treating others.
The world of social media and extreme responses to a variety of cultural topics are here to stay. You play an important role in helping the Church minister to this current culture as you train the next generation of leaders on how to engage others around the important topics of our day. It is complex and messy and reminds us of the brokenness found in our post-Genesis 3 world, but it also presents an incredible opportunity to point others to Christ if we learn to model His “for people” posture to a watching world.
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.