Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Three Weeks 'Til Haiti!

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Good news: I have a vague idea of where I'm going and what I'm doing in Haiti!  And yes, I'm officially going to Haiti.  My team is working on a church construction project in Les Cayes, a coastal town that has had an influx of displaced people since the earthquake last winter.  I don't know a whole lot else about the project itself at this point, except that we are staying at a guest house with bunk rooms, and we'll be the third VIM team at this site.  It sounds like we'll be doing some actual building - like pouring concrete and such.  Yeah, its ok if you laughed when you pictured me pouring concrete.  

People keep asking me if it's safe to go to Haiti right now, what with the cholera outbreak and all of that business... 
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Sunday, November 14, 2010

I'm Going to Haiti!

A week ago (Sunday) my pastor mentioned in church that Volunteers in Mission (VIM) teams were going to Haiti on pretty much a weekly basis, and an image that I had seen in the newspaper that morning popped into my head: Haitian children wading through waist-deep water after their already ravaged country was flooded by a tropical storm.  And just like that I decided I wanted to go to Haiti with a VIM team.   On Tuesday Pastor Amy forwarded me an email about a team from the Baltimore-Washington Conference that had an opening for a trip in December.  Less than a month away.  Wednesday I got a response from the team leader with the dates (Dec. 9-17), the cost ($1,350 - relatively low for a trip of that type), and a few other details.  Friday morning I got the green light from work, and today I talked to the team leader for the first time.  What a week.  
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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Emerging Adulthood Conference Resources

Here are a few additional resources on Emerging Adult ministry.

One of the keynote speakers was Kara Powell, from the Fuller Youth Institute. They are doing research on young adults transitioning from youth groups to college. The FYI website on Sticky Faith has a lot of research and resources. She also does training and resources for Youth Specialties, my favorite source of Youth Ministry training and resources.

The other keynote speaker was Christian Smith who is doing research on the religious lives of a cohort that he has been following for a few years. His book Soul Searching documents his findings on adolescents, and Souls in Transition follows up with them as emerging adults. These are sociological texts, so I've been told that the Soul Searching DVD is a good alternative if you find the book difficult to get through (and it features music from Switchfoot and Third Day!)

The Princeton Theological Seminary Institute for Youth Ministry hosted the Conference on Emerging Adulthood and their website also has some resources.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Reaching Young Adults

Last week I attended the Princeton Theological Seminary Conference on Emerging Adulthood, where people in ministry gathered to hear research about "emerging adults" and to wrestle with how the church should be in ministry with this (my) generation. All of the presenters did a fantastic job, and I came back with enough material to blog on for months. For today's purposes, though, I'll try to focus on a small part of my initial reflections.

Some Background

First, why aren't many emerging adults (which, generally speaking, refers to roughly ages 18-29) in the church today? A lot of factors are at play here. For one thing, there is a great deal of transience and transition during this phase, and so even if EAs are able to find a local church where they feel at home (which is a challenge in itself), they will probably end up moving away anyway! And of course young adults have grown up steeped in a cultural understanding of religion that says that church is a place to learn to be good, but its not the only place and it might not even be the best place to do so. We have inherited previous generations' skepticism of religion without the cultural expectation that we should at least pretend to buy in. People of faith know that there is more to our faith than morals - that the point is life-giving relationship with God, but this central point is often obscured by the do's and don'ts. This is not a new problem - go take a quick look at most of the controversies in church history.

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