What happened to all of our young people (pt 3) ProLonged Adolescense

2 Tim 2:22

Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 23Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24And the Lord’s servant must not quarrel; instead, he must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25Those who oppose him he must gently instruct, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.

Recent findings published by the American Sociological Association and based on U.S. Census data show a sharp decline in the percentage of young adults who have finished school, left home, gotten married, had a child and reached financial independence, considered typical standards of adulthood. In 2000, 46% of women and 31% of men had reached those markers by age 30, vs. 77% of women and 65% of men at the same age in 1960.  Those numbers are continuing to decline rapidly.

Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, a developmental psychologist who has studied this age group extensively, explores the mind-set of young people in a  book, Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road From the Late Teens Through the Twenties.

“They’re not as mature because they’re not required to be,” he says. “It’s really the society and culture as a whole.”

“This is a generation that has grown up in an accelerated culture and forced them to be older before they’re ready,” says David Morrison, president of Twentysomething Inc. “Now that they have their independence, they are going to squeeze every ounce of that sponge before they settle down.”

For the 1st time in our countries History we have a generation of young people who want to delay adulthood.

In his  book, “Guyland,” a Stony Brook professor notes that the traditional markers of manhood—leaving home, getting an education, finding a partner, starting work and becoming a father—have moved downfield as the passage from adolescence to adulthood has evolved from “a transitional moment to a whole new stage of life.”

What once was lets spend a weekend together before we get jobs & leave college has now become a new life stage for young men!

Today’s guys are perhaps the first downwardly mobile—and endlessly adolescent—generation of men in U.S. history. They’re also among the most distraught—men between the ages of 16 and 26 have the highest suicide rate for any group, despite their image as a band of back slapping buddies.

Why is this happening?

1) – Student Loans & Cost of College – Students are faced with the option of enormous amounts of debt that force young people to stay away from college.  When I was in college I interned at a church, I coached basketball at a local high school and I worked in the student center.  About 25% of the college students I know today actually work.  The rest spend a lot of time playing video games, watching sports & enjoying life.

2) – Entitlement – This makes young people wait for the perfect job instead on take the one that is available.  I know many young people who instead of taking a fast food job or job at the mall choose to live on someone else’s couch & never move forward.

3) – Fear – We can’t over emphasize enough that this is a fatherless generation & that they are terrified of making the same mistakes their fathers did.

4) – Media Glorification of Immaturity – Watch any film or television show targeting men between the age of 18-30 & all of them will involve a group of young men who are immature, who have never grown up, who are simply enjoying life & doing whatever feels good.  The only person portrayed in these films as being in bondage is always the one who is married & works from 9 to 5.  Entourage, the Hangover, any show on MTV, the list could go on & on.  I can’t think of one character on film or TV who is in their mid to late 20’s married, working and happy.  The lie is go out & do whatever feels good because once you are married and working you will never enjoy life again.

Solutions:

1) – Discipleship & Mentors – As surprising as this may sound our young people want authority in their lives.  I know I am banging the same drum again and again but our young people need a Titus 2 model of the church where they have someone walking beside them.  They need someone to tell them to get off the couch, to go get a job, to man up & stop being a child.  They need a Paul pushing them towards maturity.

2) – Vision of Godly Families – They need to see family modeled correctly!  At least 3 times a week we have college students at our dinner table.  They watch how I correct, love & encourage our children.  They see how Sarah and I love each other, deal with conflict & love our children.  We invite students to go on family activities with us, we invite them to be a part of our lives.  They don’t need a perfect example of Jesus in the family but they need a living one!  Invite students into your home & into your families life.

3) – College Ministry can’t be youth group 2.0 – We don’t play ridiculous games, we don’t do 1500 events a year, we don’t try to wow our students every week with a cooler band and a better program.  We teach them that the church is a family on mission together & its their turn to take their place in that family.  We push them towards maturity, towards sacrifice for the body & towards leadership (Heb 5).  90% of the campus ministries I see and observe simply continue youth ministry for our kids with an endless supply of messy games, retreats, concerts & foolishness.  I could argue that our current student ministry model is not working with high school students, we lose 7 out of 10 of them when they go to college.  If its not working there why continue it here?  We need a new vision of what college ministry looks like.

4) – Don’t give them spiritual Busyness / Give them Jesus – Our great hope in Christ has been reduced to Spiritual activity & busyness.  Our students don’t need another event, activity or fellowship night.  They need Jesus! Give them a picture of how Jesus changes everything, teach them that they are the priesthood of all believers & that they are missionaries now.

5) – Local training centers for Students – In the past 2 years since our church has been in existence 11 students have walked through the Multiplicity project (an intense year long discipleship & training program).  Next year we already have 5 signed up already and our goal is 15-25 students.  Students need to receive intense training, discipleship & mentoring from the church! This can’t be microwaved it takes time commitment, discipline & structure.  Call your students to spiritual discipline & commitment.  If they can study liberal arts 101, jog walk and communications 101.  They can commit themselves to studying scripture for a year.

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