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Young Adult Life Presentation
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by Manny Cruz

Early November, as part of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (NAD) year-end meetings, a group of young adults offered a compelling presentation on the issue of young adult retention. Introduced by Debra Brill, NAD Vice President for Ministries, Pastors Marquis Johns and Benjamin Lundquist led the presentation on behalf of a nearly 30-member focus group who had convened earlier in the year, developing the Young Adult LIFE initiative.

Johns and Lundquist presented the focus group’s six “Initiatives/Ideas” – We Are Ready to Listen, Small Group Communities, iCreate, Why Am I An Adventist?, The Locals and Mentoring/Campus Ministry. Pastor Benjamin mentioned the NAD Camp Ministry study and how Adventist Camp Ministry is one of the best ways to retain young adults in the church.

Clint Jenkin, PhD, Vice President for Research for the Barna Group, offered findings from a recent research project involving Seventh-day Adventist Millennials [ages 18-29 years old]. Year-end meeting delegates listened intently as Jenkin shared the attitudes of young adults towards church doctrines, lifestyles and practices. Dr. Clint also shared stories of several young Adventists, and how intergenerational relationships in the church had affected them in both positive and negative ways. He concluded by reminding the attendees that intergenerational relationships, especially mentoring-type relationships between older members and young adults, are crucial in the spiritual development of Adventist Millennials, and ultimately in their decision to stay or walk away from faith community.

Pastor Marquis followed the Barna Group report with a strong appeal to the delegates to not think of young adults who have left the church as statistics, but rather as “our family.” Concluding the presentation, “Letter to the Church,” was read, reader’s theatre style, by several local collegians; It was a very honest, moving appeal to church leaders to embrace young adults and include them in all aspects of church life. Those in attendance responded with applause and a standing ovation.

 Electronic resources from the NAD year-end meeting young adult presentation are available for download at https://db.tt/mRvcDu1v  More resources for, details about, and services of Young Adult LIFE are slated to be released first of 2014 to empower and equip local young adults and leaders to disciple next generations. Young Adult LIFE is to be more fully detailed at the JCI/IGNITION Conference, February 19-23, in Miami, Florida [www.jci4.org].