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
REGISTER NOW for the rest of our Youth Worker Training Events for the 2016-17 season!
We are excited about the lineup of presenters scheduled, from nationally known presenters like Andy Root and Steven Argue to local leaders like Tina Harris. This season you'll find a range of topics that will inspire, challenge, and equip you for ministry with youth and young adults.
Thursday, DECEMBER 1: More Than 'Getting Together': Youth Ministry and Race, by Rev. Tina Harris and Dr. Brandon Winstead. Location: Nazarene Theological Seminary
Thursday, JANUARY 26: Emerging Adults, Spirituality, and the Church, by Dr. Steven Argue. Location: Colonial Presbyterian Church
Thursday, MARCH 30: Saying is Believing: The Power of Testimony and Storytelling, by Dr. Amanda Drury. Location: TBA
Some wise words from Jean Vanier during his acceptance speech for the 2015 Templeton Prize.
For peace, people must meet across differences. I say to meet people, not just to send them money and offer better professionals. All need to change. Fear must be changed into openness. Those on the rich side need to change and open their hearts to those on the other side. Those on the needy side also need to change; from anger, anguish, depression and a sense of being victims of a society, they must become agents of hope and of love.…It is only as we meet and share together person to person, eye to eye, and heart to heart that we discover what it means to be human and to discover the joy of being together, working together towards a common mission of peace and unity. It is only moving from winning and loneliness to collaboration, and from hostility to seeing enemies as friends, that we discover the real meaning of peace.
Earlier this summer, I invited Yoram Hazony, President of The Herzl Institute in Jerusalem, to participate in a dialogue in Oxford on Science and the Bible. Yoram is an Israeli philosopher, Bible scholar and political theorist. I love this segment he did with actor Morgan Freeman for the National Geographic miniseries The Story of God.
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.