Protecting Your Investment: Final Thoughts

  • Your young adult ministry can’t be like your youth ministry: Structurally, it can look the same, but your content will have to be different. The temptation will be to use the same stuff you’ve used in your youth ministry in your young adult ministry. Yet, now you will have students moving up into this ministry, who will stay, and if they know you’re doing the same stuff you did with them in high school, they’ll be certain to leave. You’re ministering to adults now; you can do all the things you wish you could do with youth, but couldn’t, because of age limitations. Use that to your advantage, and have some fun!
  • Let them question and struggle a bit: Asking questions about your faith is a good thing, and young adults are good about pushing the limits. They need to ask questions because the answers they got in high school don’t cut it anymore. At the same time, don’t be quick to provide them with an answer either. Let them struggle with the tension and grapple with their faith. This can be the best thing for them, and they come out better disciples of Jesus Christ for it.
  • Young adults can be just as inconsistent as youth: Young adults seem to have those “a ha” moments a lot quicker than youth, but at the same time, they still know how to make those choices that make you shake your head. They may be adults, but they’re adults in training, so they’re going to have plenty of spills along the way. It’s easy to forget this simple fact, so if your young adults seem to be in and out with their faith, don’t be alarmed, they’re exactly where they need to be.
  • Transition is normal: This is a life phase that goes through more transitions than any other, which means you’ll have more students who will be in and out of your ministry. You will have students who transfer in for a semester and transfer out the next. Some students will stay their entire college career, and then others will stay just to get their basics done and leave. Others will stay for jobs, and others will leave for them. And then you’ll have some who will only be in your ministry one summer at a time.  Like I said, it’s a life full of transitions. All ministries go through cycles, but young adult ministry happens more frequently. Embrace the transition and keep moving forward. Your ministry will stabilize soon enough.
  • Network with as many young adult ministers as possible. There aren’t many ministers who minister to both youth and young adults. When you find them, network with them. Networking with other young adult ministers has truly helped me get ahead of the learning curve, and being able to process ministry with them has been a blessing.
  •   In the end, being able to minister to young adults has been one of the greatest blessings God has allowed me to partake in. I’ve enjoyed writing these posts and I pray you truly consider joining me in protecting your investment. If you minister to youth and young adults, please let me know. I would love to connect with you over Facebook and Twitter! If you are a young adult minister, what are some other “final thoughts” you would add to the list?]]>

    19 Comments

    1. I appreciate your point about young adult ministry not being like youth ministry. At the church I just left, they had a habit of allowing the graduating seniors to stay in the youth group for extended periods of time. The result was that, when they did move on, they quickly dropped out. I was looked down on when I began a policy that seniors can stay through the summer, but have to leave before September. They thought I was "kicking them out." They didn't realize I was doing for their own good.
      • Jonathan, I can understand their misconception that you are "kicking them out." However, I agree with you fully that there has to be a cut off time! I think your policy is wise. Josh, great article! Thanks!
    2. I appreciate your point about young adult ministry not being like youth ministry. At the church I just left, they had a habit of allowing the graduating seniors to stay in the youth group for extended periods of time. The result was that, when they did move on, they quickly dropped out. I was looked down on when I began a policy that seniors can stay through the summer, but have to leave before September. They thought I was "kicking them out." They didn't realize I was doing for their own good.
    3. I appreciate your point about young adult ministry not being like youth ministry. At the church I just left, they had a habit of allowing the graduating seniors to stay in the youth group for extended periods of time. The result was that, when they did move on, they quickly dropped out. I was looked down on when I began a policy that seniors can stay through the summer, but have to leave before September. They thought I was "kicking them out." They didn't realize I was doing for their own good.
      • Jonathan, I can understand their misconception that you are "kicking them out." However, I agree with you fully that there has to be a cut off time! I think your policy is wise. Josh, great article! Thanks!
    4. Thanks guys. It's always hard to let go, but we know more than anything, keeping them in our group doesn't help them. I believe that's why there needs to be a final senior service in the youth group to provide some type of closure for them. It's not easy saying goodbye, but we can help take the sting out of it and turn it into a teachable moment!
    5. Thanks guys. It's always hard to let go, but we know more than anything, keeping them in our group doesn't help them. I believe that's why there needs to be a final senior service in the youth group to provide some type of closure for them. It's not easy saying goodbye, but we can help take the sting out of it and turn it into a teachable moment!
    6. I agree Josh about youth ministry and college / young adult ministry needing to be different. It's upsetting when they accuse you of having "nothing" for them when you are actually trying to be intentional about transitioning them to adulthood. That's been a hard pill to swallow. But great post.
        • I think remaining available and "present" even after they leave your High School ministry is a big deal. I don't always succeed here, but a random text or facebook post in their direction goes a long way. I also think finding great leaders to be the "face" and "crux" of the ministry is a vital way to delegate effectively. It gives a clear transition TO something instead of OUT of something.
          • Completely agree with you Keith. Keeping that relationship going makes a huge difference and we all need to be better about maintaining them.
    7. I agree Josh about youth ministry and college / young adult ministry needing to be different. It's upsetting when they accuse you of having "nothing" for them when you are actually trying to be intentional about transitioning them to adulthood. That's been a hard pill to swallow. But great post.
        • I think remaining available and "present" even after they leave your High School ministry is a big deal. I don't always succeed here, but a random text or facebook post in their direction goes a long way. I also think finding great leaders to be the "face" and "crux" of the ministry is a vital way to delegate effectively. It gives a clear transition TO something instead of OUT of something.
          • Completely agree with you Keith. Keeping that relationship going makes a huge difference and we all need to be better about maintaining them.
    8. These are all great tips, especially your second point. The purpose is maturity. Every mature Christian struggles with hard answers or unanswered questions. Easing young adults into that struggle is a good thing.
    9. These are all great tips, especially your second point. The purpose is maturity. Every mature Christian struggles with hard answers or unanswered questions. Easing young adults into that struggle is a good thing.

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