CHANGE. The word either stirs deep excitement for new adventures and journeys ahead or strikes fear within the very depths of all that is known and comfortable. Regardless…change happens. Change is inevitable for us at different seasons of our lives. Change is part of the journey in following Jesus.
However, it seems as though change happens more frequent and at a quicker pace in the young adult years. Graduations, new friends, switching jobs, paying bills, and finding a new church are all changes young adults face as they transition into new roles and responsibilities. And, for many young adults, these changes can be a bit overwhelming.
What would it look like if we, as young adult ministry leaders, were seeking to be intentional in how we help young adults navigate the changes of life? Instead of being reactive to the changes that come, we could help prepare them to be proactive and ready for the transitions that are on the way. Obviously, each situation is different and has unique circumstances, but when a young adult knows the truth of what Scripture says and the need to TRUST Jesus through those changes, panic and fear could be substantially alleviated. As young adult ministry leaders, we have the opportunity to prepare young adults to thrive in the middle of change, instead of stalling and being stunned.
It’s important for us to remind and prepare young adults to live out the command of Philippians 4:6-8:
“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable – if there is any moral excellence and if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy – dwell on these things.”(CSB)
Here are some approaches we can take as we help young adults navigate the changes that are coming their way:
- Be vulnerable with how you navigated changes in your own life.
The young adults in our groups need to hear that they are not alone in questioning how to navigate the changes that are coming. As you meet with them in groups or individually, be willing to share some of the victories and difficulties you have faced as you walked through changes. What did you do well? What could you have done better? What should you NOT have done? Young adults respect the life experience that you bring to their lives. Be willing to share some of the pieces of what has shaped you through the changes you have experienced along the way. Be vulnerable and real!
- Talk about change when teaching Scripture.
As you are teaching scripture in group studies, integrate conversations about change within the discussion. There are accounts of change in the Old and New Testaments that affected the people involved. When these types of Scriptures arise, it’s always a great way to focus on the relevance of Scripture to our daily lives.
Young adults are sometimes anxious when it comes to the many changes that may be approaching their lives. Give them the truth of Scripture to combat the fear and anxiety that the enemy wants us to focus on instead of the trust and obedience that Christ uses to build faith and hope.
- Host a small group of young adults that are near definite changes.
There will be seasons in young adults’ life that inevitably indicate change. Times like graduation, marriage, and new jobs. Think about leading a small group in your home that will give time for a study that will help navigate changes. Focus on the truths of Scripture while also providing tools for how to find a new church, budgeting, and thinking about friendships in the midst of change.
A small group like this will allow you to have conversations that are directly focused on the season of life that a specific group of people is walking through. Not only will it build trust among this small group, it will also allow you to invest in and share God’s truth and encouragement in their lives.
Change can be an exciting time for a young adult! As leaders, let’s help them navigate these changes with truth and hope. It’s worth it!
Mark Whitt is a collegiate minister with Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Connect with Mark via Twitter.