Archive for the tag “Young Adult”


Yesterday, our oldest son graduated high school.

This is a scary time for anyone who is graduating school because they have a lot of decisions they need to make.

Do I go to college or in the military or do I just keep working?

Do I want to move away or stay near home?

Will I want to maintain my old friends and life or start completely new?

For me, graduation was almost 30 years ago. By the time I graduated, I had a plan in place for where I wanted to go to college and even how I wanted my life to go. I knew I didn’t want to go into the military and that I did want to go to college. I knew that I wanted to stay close enough to home for the support from my parents but far enough away that I could start my life over.

Our oldest son is nothing like me when I was graduating. Jake is a little aimless. He is perfectly content washing dishes at the local café and coming home to play games on the computer while taking a class here and a class there.

For someone like myself, I find this frustrating.

But it is Jake. He is a really good young man. He’s just aimless.

I keep suggesting to his mom that he join the military. They have great programs that will help the aimless take aim. I don’t think she is as excited about that option as I am.

As I think about him joining the military, I remember how I felt when I was faced with that option. I hated the thought of it.

I was a pacifist. You would never find me holding a gun at anyone, much less joining an organization that focuses on just that. But now I actually wish I would have taken that route. If I knew then what I know now, I would have gone into the service for a few years and taken the training they provide and be more prepared for everything I have endured thus far in life.

You see, Jake is actually a lot more like me at that age than I want to admit. I was somewhat aimless. I knew I was going to college, but so does he. He actually wants to go to Northwestern so that he can get back to Minnesota, the place he left his heart. He just doesn’t know how to make it happen.

How many young men and women graduating high school see the amount of opportunities ahead of them and get overwhelmed? I bet it is a lot more than we realize.

So what is a parent to do when their kid is about to graduate?

I haven’t a fat clue.

You thought I was going to give a list of items that parents should and should not do. You thought I would espouse some sort of wisdom that would help you along the way.

I’m clueless.

Much like Jake, right now I am aimless.

I know the destination I would like to get him, I just don’t know how to help get him there.

Mimi and I are feeling this out as we go along.

I’ve read a lot of posts lately about how to help a child who is graduating to find their dreams but for almost all of those pieces I read, they were a vision given by God to a specific person for a specific time. If I were to put some of the advice I read into action with Jake, I think it would do more harm than good.

So where do Mimi and I (and Jake) go from here?

The Psalms.

Psalm 91:4 – He will cover you with His wings; you will be safe in His care; his faithfulness will protect and defend you.

Psalm 68:19 – Praise the Lord, who carries our burdens day after day; He is the God who saves us.

Psalm 138:3 – You answered me when I call to You; with Your strength you strengthened me.

Psalm 46:1 – God is our shelter and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.

A lot of times parents want to help their kids to prevent trouble. I will be the first to tell you, parents, that is impossible. “Kid” in the original Greek is translated “Him who seeks trouble.” Ok, I am joking. But seriously, it should be.

Our job isn’t to teach our children how to avoid trouble. It is to teach them where to go when trouble comes knocking.

Our job isn’t to preserve children in our homes so that they grow weak in understanding and wisdom, it is to let them soar into the world, knowing where they receive their strength.

Our job isn’t to shelter our children, it is to show them that they have a much larger and more protective shelter in the Lord.

So where do Mimi and I go from here with Jake?

We hope the lessons we have taught him will stay in his mind and we will continue to educate him on the strength and grace of our Lord until the day comes when he is pushed out of the nest.

Congratulations, Jake. You earned you right to adult. You have shown society, and us, that you know about responsibility and how to seek out the opportunities. Jake, your mom and I will always be available to you to help you along your way, but we won’t be doing it for you. Because of that, I expect, and long for, some amazing things to come from you. Whether those amazing things include changing the world or simply living out your life in a mundane job somewhere, it is all amazing. It is amazing because God provided us the opportunity to see you grow and He provided you with the opportunity to live. He makes no mistakes. He loves you more than Mimi and I ever could.

Just learn what it means to lean on His understanding more and more and there is no end to what amazing things you will do in this life.

Was That Me?!?

1 Corinthians 13:11 – When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

The past few weeks I’ve been working with my church’s NexGen young adult ministry. I love these young people! They have such beautiful hearts and, in many ways, are blank slates that can be written on with the Word of the Lord in permanent ink. Along with the beauty of their hearts come some distinct traits that are common of all millennials.

Now I am not a millennial. I am a GenX. I just missed being a boomer by about 4 years. Translated that means that I am old. I’m not walk with a cane, take Geritol, read AARP old, but I’m getting there. I actually received my first AARP magazine in the mail a few weeks ago. It was a mistake. It should have gone to a neighbor’s house. But you can imagine that moment that I opened the mailbox and saw AARP. I think I facepalmed pretty hard that moment.

But I digress.

Our churches are in desperate need to reach the young adults in the communities they serve. As I review the Annapolis area and in speaking with the young adult leaders in my church, I have come find out that our group is one of the largest in the Annapolis area and that there are really only about 5 or 6 programs in the area that cater to the age group of 18-35.

And we wonder why the young adults are not coming church?!?!

No amount of music can bring them and keep them.

No amount of preaching can bring them and keep them.

No amount of impressive works can bring them and keep them.

Ephesians 4:15-16 – Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

With the millennial generation, it is all about how much you interact with them.

Think of it this way.

Most young adults are just starting to make it at their jobs. They are taking on more responsibility and meeting a lot of new people. These are people who could, and most likely will, affect their future jobs.

After work, many of these young adults go out to the bar after work. They are building relationships with the people that they work with.

On Sunday, they may go to church. After church, they go back to their apartments or homes and realize that no one at the church they just attended cared enough to ask them to do something.

Here is the Christian church, the place that has the message of salvation for all of humanity, the place that is built upon the doctrine of loving our neighbor as we love ourselves, and the place that should care so much about each and every soul that walks into the church that we want to get to know each and every soul that walks into the church.

But most churches don’t cater to the needs of young adults.

1 Samuel 2:26 – Now the young man Samuel continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man. (This was also said of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, by the way)

The past few weeks I have had the blessing to be able to minister to these amazing men and women and I have come to learn more about me than I would have if I had sat idly by hoping that someone else would reach them.

Young adults do not think like us old farts. As many of these men and women are starting their careers and their lives, they have a very limited view of what is around them. As we age, we are able, through experience, to distinguish when something is critical and when something is not. Young adults do not have the filter of experience. Everything to them is of utmost importance because it is all they know.

For example, if they get screamed at by their boss at work, they immediately could be thinking how their job is on the line. While those of us who have lived through several jobs are able to tell when something is at critical mass or something is more benign.

Having a child is another scary time. I always have to smile when my young adult friends are having their first child. They spend hours going from baby store to baby store to get the most safest crib, the stroller that holds the most stuff and can travel across the beach (like they think they will have TIME for the beach with children), and all of the outlet covers and corner guards they can get their hands on. Then they freak out when their child hits their head on the one corner of the one TV table that they forgot to cover. As an adult who has been through two children, I smile and laugh and think to myself how, in a few short months, all that money they spent on that stuff will have been wasted and they will be simply wanting to spend more time with their children than taking the time to wrap them in the equivalent of bubble wrap.

But young adults don’t know all this. All they know is that their world is very different from the world their parents grew up in (in most ways, though, it isn’t) and that their parents advice doesn’t matter because of how much their world is different.

Young adults want someone to simply come alongside them and build them up. They don’t want everyone’s advice. They simply want someone there to encourage them, tell them it will be ok, and be there to catch them if they do slip (and catch them without judgment of their previous action).

1 Timothy 2:4 – Who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

We were all at their age once. We were all scared of the world that lies ahead but taking each step with feigned confidence so that no one would see the fear in our hearts. If we simply would have been in touch with someone with some wisdom, our journeys would be much better for it. But part of growing older is making the mistakes.
Would I have wanted someone next to me when I was 23 to tell me that the woman I was about to marry was unequally yoked to me? Of course! Now I do. But at that time, I had those people telling me that and I didn’t listen to it.

But that experience for myself gave me a deeper love and understanding of the kingdom of God. It prepared me for a life sold out to Him.

And these young adults are going to make mistakes. Some of them will be significant, life-changing mistakes.
But as long as we who are the elders of the church, the wise and the old farts, come alongside them and simply be there to encourage them through their trials, they will grow knowing the grace of God and how His death on the cross means everything to them, even if they screw up this life.

So I encourage my older readers to spend time with your church’s youth group and/or young adult group. If your church doesn’t have a young adult group, get one started. it is so vitally important these men and women have a safe place that they can call their home.

And what better home than the church of the Living God!

Psalm 71:18 – So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come.

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