Posted by: beattieblog | August 21, 2010

Notes from Robert Wuthnow – “After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty and Thirty Somethings Are Shaping the future of American Religion”

I’m working on a directed study for my final Fuller Seminary requirement and reading about the religious and cultural milieu of young adultdom. Here are some interesting notes from Wuthnow. Can you relate or do you see this around you? Or is does this describe soemthing foreign to your experience? I’d be interested to hear:

P. 11 – “Comparing statistics in 2000 with statistics in 1960, the researchers found, for instance, that completing all the major transitions (leaving home, finishing school, becoming financially independent, getting married and having a child) was achieved by only 46 percent of women and 31 percent of men age 30 in 2000, compared with 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men of the same age in 1960.”

p. 12 – The amazing thing about this pattern of support and socialization is that it all comes to a halt about the time a young person reaches the age of twenty-one or twenty –two. After providing significant  institutional support for the developmental tasks that occurred before tehn, we provide almost nothing for the developmental tasks that are accomplished when people are in their twenties and thirties. And, since more of those tasks are happening later, this is a huge problem. It means that younger adults are having to invent their own ways of making decisions and seeking support for those decisions.” 

P. 13 – “Of course, we expect young adults to be independent enough to make their own decisions. I am not suggesting that we develop caretaker institutions for people in their thirties like the ones we have for teenagers. I am saying we should have a serious national conversation about the kinds of institutional support young adults do need.”

                Factors that contribute:

1.       Instability of work force = can’t rely on employers

2.       Emotional and financial support from families is important, but much more available to the wealthy than the majority.

3.       Overloaded with debt due to bad financial decisions.

4.       Continuing high rates of divorce and child abuse

5.       Young adults express feeling uncertain and unsettled “I don’t know if I’m an adult yet… I don’t feel like I’m quite on track yet.”

Congregations could be this for young adults but aren’t yet. Could help guide career and budget decisions, help think about personal priorities. “It will continue to go unrealized as long as congregations invest in youth programs for high school students and assume this is enough. It will also go unrealized if congregational leaders focus on their graying memberships and do not look more creatively to the future (p. 13).”

–What does this mean for how FPCB should look at YA ministry?

–What kinds of activities, programs should we priortize as we continue to develop YA ministry?


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