A Word from Bryant Manning…

In January, I’ll be 25. Halfway through my twenties. Whoa.

I’ve finally reached the point in my life where I qualify as a ‘young adult’ though, in truth, I’ve always found this terminology puzzling. 

As a kid I always thought that adulthood was something you just achieved one day.  At first, I thought you reached it when you turned 16 and got your driver’s license. Then, when I had reached that mark, I realized that adulthood came at 18 when you became a legal ‘adult.’  As I went through college, though, I noticed a divide among students who were 21 and those that weren’t. 

In graduate school I realized that many who are 22 are not really ‘adults.’  And, for the first time, I realized that age had little to do with adult classification. 

What distinguishes ‘young’ adults from ‘real’ adults?  Real adults pay lots of bills. Real adults are often married and thinking about having children. Real adults often don’t have much financial help from their parents.  Real adults are not just beginning their careers; they’re so used to them, the careers rule them.

‘Real’ adults have met the world. 

And, I think, the term ‘young adult’ is often used to separate those who haven’t truly ‘met’ the world.  The term ‘young adult,’ as it is used by the general public, has little to do with age and more to do with perceived maturity. If you meet a 22-year-old who has truly experienced the world, you are unlikely to group them with the same ‘young adults’ group at your church.  Age is all they have in common.

Young adults are seemingly less ‘mature,’ yes. What most don’t see is that it is exactly this distinction that makes them so important. 

When the late Steve Jobs turned thirty, his employees made a video for him that quoted this old Hindu Proverb:

“For the first thirty years of your life, you make your habits. For the last thirty years of your life, your habits make you.”

This seems to be true.  Young adults are being formed through the making of habits throughout this point in their life more than any other.  They are figuring out what they believe. They’re ambitious and fearless. They’re creative. They’re often opinionated without knowing why. They are constantly changing.  

Young adulthood provides an opportunity to be shaped and formed.  

Because of that, the Church must be involved.  If the Church is going to shape its future, it must begin with young adults.

If the Church cares at all about the livelihood of Jesus’s message in his world then, one of salvation and holiness, an oversight of young adult ministry will surely ruin it. If, though, the Church would focus on young adult ministry, invest in young adults, and support their passions and creativities, the future of the Church would look brighter than ever before.

Events like Reclaim are doing just that. They’re investing in the young adults of the Church. They’re supporting and encouraging the future of Jesus’s Gospel. They’re shaping young adults into faithful disciples. 

You should be there.   

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