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.