Emerging Adults, Spirituality, and the Church Featuring Dr. Steven Argue | 9a - 1p | Colonial Presbyterian Church (Wornall)
Emerging Adults are those who self-identify as no longer being adolescents but have yet to see themselves as adults. They are living in one of the most significant developmental periods that often determine the trajectory of the rest of their lives. Currently, they may be one of the most misunderstood populations in the church. In conversations with ministry leaders, there seems to be three recurring questions regarding emerging adults. The first is “Why are they leaving us?” This only adds insult to young adults’ already-vulnerable dispositions. The second, is “How do we get emerging adults back?” The third is often asked in whispered tones, “If they do come back, what do we do with them?” This reveals an honest apprehension about what it really means for churches to connect with emerging adults. Sadly, there are some narratives where churches bemoan emerging adults leaving them and emerging adults condemn churches for abandoning them. There are more thoughtful and hopeful ways to move forward if we are willing to listen to the voices of emerging adults, consider their quest for meaning, and envision what “good news” might look like for them. We will explore the research and reimagine the Church’s posture toward emerging adults.
Dr. Steven Argue joined the Fuller Theological Seminary faculty in June 2015 in a hybrid role as assistant professor of youth, family, and culture and as applied research strategist with the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI). A thought leader and researcher with decades of on-the-ground ministry experience, he comes from Mars Hill Bible Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he served since 2009 as pastor and theologian-in-residence. Prior to that he was executive director of the Contextual Learning Center (CLC) at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, where he designed the seminary’s residency program that provided experience and assessment for seminary students. He has worked and led parachurch organizations that focused on youth ministry strategies and leadership development. Also, he was associate pastor of high school ministries at Elmbrook Church. Prior to his ministry experience, he worked for Hewitt Associates, a firm that provides human capital and management consulting services.
Dr. Argue has worked with FYI for the past five years: as a Sticky Faith coach and speaker, a contributor on projects such as the Churches Engaging Youth People Project (CEYP), and as an Advisory Council Member. He has also taught as an adjunct at Fuller Seminary, as well as at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, Cornerstone University, Bethel College (Indiana), Biblical Theological Seminary, Northern Seminary, and Jos Evangelical Theological School (Nigeria). His speaking engagements include Youth Specialties’ National Youth Workers Convention (NYWC) since 2008, and his publications range from numerous blogs and articles on the Fuller Youth Institute website, in Group magazine, Inside Track magazine, andYouth Worker Journal to coauthoring a five-volume set of training materials for youth workers. Argue is also a chapter contributor to Adopted, edited by Dr. Chap Clark (forthcoming in 2015).
Argue’s doctoral research focused on how undergraduate students who attend public universities perceive and work through spiritual struggle. He hopes this work can contribute to better understanding emerging adults—one of the most misunderstood groups of people in our churches today—and provide more meaningful ways for faith communities to support emerging adults in one of the most important periods in their lives.
His professional affiliations include the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood, Association of Youth Ministry Educators, International Association for the Study of Youth Ministry, National Network of Youth Ministries, and the Association of Theological Field Educators. Argue was ordained in 1994 by Elmbrook Church, Brookfield, Wisconsin, as an Ordained Minister of the Gospel.
"We have become so accustomed to the idea of divine love and of God’s coming at Christmas that we no longer feel the shiver of fear that God’s coming should arouse in us. We are indifferent to the message, taking only the pleasant and agreeable out of it and forgetting the serious aspect, that the God of the world draws near to the people of our little earth and lays claim to us. The coming of God is truly not only glad tidings, but first of all frightening news for everyone who has a conscience." Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Nationalism, Pragmatism and Sentimentalism are blinding the church to the reality that Jesus Christ came to bring a new way that would someday make the world unbroken, where God gets God's way on Earth as in Heaven.
John the Baptist testifies to this, "Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth." Luke 3:5
The Virgin Mary proclaims this, "He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty." Luke 1:51-53
For the last two years I have been a part of an amazing project called the Museum of the Bible. I have served as a Senior Advisor for the museum. I am working closely with former Youthfront staff member and current Youthfront Board member, as well as my dear friend and colleague for the last forty years, Tim Smith. Tim is a Vice President and Director of Development. The video below is is an extended virtual tour of the 430,000-square-foot Museum of the Bible being constructed in Washington, D.C. The Museum is slated to open in November, 2017 and is located a couple blocks off of the Washington Mall, near the US Capital Building. Watch the video and you will see why I am so excited to be a part of this legacy project. Below the video is the Official Executive Summary for one of the projects that I'm heading up for the Museum. In the fall I secured a substantial planning grant from the John Templeton Foundation for Museum of the Bible and I'm excited about the potential to change the conversation concerning the Bible and Science.
Official Executive Summary for the Museum of the Bible and John Templeton Foundation Planning Grant:
A narrative has developed in the Western world that scripture and science are incompatible. Many believe science has shown the Bible to no longer be relevant and even responsible for holding back human progress. There are also those who believe that scripture necessitates an adversarial position against science. While elements of this narrative are certainly understandable in our current cultural milieu, we believe they are mistaken and damaging. The MOTB has an opportunity to help overcome these misleading views. We will use this planning grant from the John Templeton Foundation to determine the best, most effective ways to develop initiatives, programs, research, scholarship and exhibits focusing on the Bible and its impact on science in an accurate, comprehensible, compelling and memorable manner. This grant will support planning for the Bible and science portions of a signature traveling exhibit and for the Museum itself, and add rich science and scripture content to other projects and initiatives of MOTB. The planning grant will enable us to plan and facilitate up to seven strategic gatherings involving scholars, theologians, scientists, practitioners, literary and cultural experts who will together explore how MOTB and its initiatives can enhance the public dialogue concerning the convergence between the Bible, science and scholarship. In addition, we will engage in a small but high leverage research project to assess secular openness to initiatives we hope will change the conversation in the broader culture concerning the relationship between science and the Bible. This project will produce a detailed plan for compelling exhibits focusing on science and the Bible and create a fully- developed proposal for the John Templeton Foundation requesting support to implement plans. We believe the stakes are high if the presentation of the Bible and Science relationship is not informative and intelligent.
I think the article I'm linking to below is a thoughtful article about how ideology is destroying civil discourse and learning. As a follower of God in the way of Jesus Christ, I want to be allegiant to the Kingdom of God. I believe this requires me to be pastorally open to other people who think differently than me either from the right or the left. I know what I believe and it's rooted deeply in Christian orthodoxy but that doesn't mean I can't associate with people thinking differently than I do. What I have found is that ideology, both from the right and from the left, from conservatives and liberals, is exhausting and significantly dumbing down our culture. Just look at what is happening in Washington DC. Because we have lost the art of civil discourse, all ideologies have "political correct" litmus tests, which allow them to label, dismiss, demonize and dehumanize anyone outside of their way of thinking. Jesus Christ should have succumbed to this type of behavior in his day but he constantly looked into the face of the other and opened up new possibilities of what it means to be fully human in the world in which we live. The ideologues of his day crucified him. Whoever you are, whatever you so strongly believe in, if you really believe it, then you shouldn't be intimidated, nor afraid to dialogue with people who think differently than you.
"I wonder what we Christians are known for in the world outside our churches. Are we known as critics, consumers, copiers, condemners of culture? I'm afraid so. Why aren't we known as cultivators-people who tend and nourish what is best in human culture, who do the hard and painstaking work to preserve the best of what people before us have done? Why aren't we known as creators-people who dare to think and do something that has never been thought or done before, something that makes the world more welcoming and thrilling and beautiful?" Andy Crouch
On April 3rd, Andrew Zirschky will be our guest for a day of conversation, learning and theological reflection. This year we featured a session in the Theology Track at the National Youth Worker Convention led by Andrew entitled Communion Beyond Connection: Youth, Social Media, and Christian Sociality in an Age of Networks. This session was a highlight so we are bringing it to our Kansas City area youthworkers.
Social media, text messaging, and other forms of technology-driven interaction are changing the way adolescents and young adults craft identity and find community. Through “selective sociality” in a culture of “networked individualism” teens write their own identities and communities into being — a process that increasingly leaves them lonely and anxious.
Andrew will help us explore changes to adolescent understandings of personhood and social connection and will consider opportunities for a faithful response by Christian communities. The training will happen at Second Presbyterian Church (318 E. 55th St KCMO 64113) from 9a to 1p.
RSVP to email@example.com or click here to register.
I am still glowing from Sunday night's special, The Night That Changed America, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Beatles appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show. I remember watching as a six year old boy that night 50 years ago with my Dad and Mom. I have been a life-long Beatles' fan. I also like the fact that my kids also share a passion for the Beatles and also my other super group - U2. I love these guys and I'm looking forward to the release in June of their upcoming album Songs Of Ascent. Gotta love that name. Here is the new video of Invisible, the first song released during the Super Bowl from the coming album.
We hosted around 100 Pastors, Youth Pastors and Ministry leaders yesterday at Youthfront for a focus on Immigration reform. The event was sponsored by CCDA and featured CCDA's President Noel Castellanos. Youthfront staff members Kurt Rietema and Amber Booth, along with Mission Adelante staff member Jason Schoff organized this informative event.
Here is a video of the media coverage of the event.
"When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do
him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the
native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were
strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God."