Posted by: beattieblog | September 11, 2010

The failure society’s institutions – including churches – to adequately support young adults in their 20s and 30s…thoughts?

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From my reading response paper on Robert Wuthnow’s After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings are Shaping the Future of American Religion:

All of this means that young adults today are more likely to participate in more than one congregation. They no longer inherit a place of worship. Their friendships make a significant impact on their spiritual identity, but these friendships come from a variety of places in their lives, which contributes to their unsettledness within one church.  In the midst of this unsettledness, young adults do ask themselves philosophical and spiritual questions about heaven, the nature of God, angels, death, etc. This contradicts, Wuthnow asserts, what many secularists want us to think: that young adults have become too smart or educated to care about these kinds of questions. From Wuthnow’s perspective, young adults actively think and talk amongst themselves about religion and spirituality.Though they do so with a high level of civility and minimal proselytizing.

Though they do so with a high level of civility and minimal proselytizing.

“We provide day care centers, schools, welfare programs, family counseling, colleges, job training programs, and even detention centers as a kind of institutional surround-sound until young adults reach age 21, and then we provide nothing…. This is not a good way to run a society. No wonder young adults experience stress and confusion, worry that they are not yet capable of behaving like adults, delay settling down, and often make bad decisions about jobs and money. This is not a criticism of young adults themselves. They do the best they can in the absence of much assistance and support.”


In Wuthnow’s view, the majority of churches are as culpable as other societal institutions in providing support and reaching young adults. Most churches seem content with the few young adults they have, ignoring the rest – they offer a lively high school group, maybe college and then pick up again catering to young married coupled with children.


  1. Thoughts? Is this your experience?
  2. If you’re a young adult reading this, are you actively involved in church or spiritual group?
  3. How often do you talk to your friends about things of a spiritual nature – heaven and hell, angels, nature of God?
  4. What should churches be doing in response?
  5. How about you First Pres of Bellevue young adults? What are your thoughts?




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