Image Credit: Rubén López

NAD Young Adult LIFE Tour Comes to the PNW

Who are your people? What is good news to them? Where do my people need me to show up for them? These are the questions that attendees were challenged to answer at the North American Division Young Adult LIFE Tour's latest stop at Pleasant Valley Adventist Church in Happy Valley, Oregon, April 19–20, 2024. Young adults, church leaders, mentors and parents gathered to learn about the unique challenges emerging adults face and how churches can help meet their needs.

On Friday night, Steven Argue, Fuller Theological Seminary and Fuller Youth Institute, shared his burden for young adults, especially as they face challenges with mental health, finding a career, navigating relationships and negotiating questions and doubts.

Unfortunately, many young adults feel that they are not being ministered to by the church as they experience these challenges and that the church is not concerned with the issues that matter to them. In panel discussions on Sabbath morning, young adult participants shared their perception that the church too often views them as rebellious or worldly and not interested in matters of faith or ministry, leading to suspicion and distrust between young adults and older generations. 

But, these young adult participants reassured attendees that this doesn’t have to be the reality in the church. Panelists shared about church leaders who opened their doors to young adults to offer them a free meal and a place to hang out during the week; mentors who were willing to listen to young adults' struggles and empower them to be leaders in the church; and parents who loved their children amid doubts, questioning and uncertainty.

“Young adults are at a vulnerable point in their development where they are learning how to be adults while also wrestling with deep questions of identity, belonging and purpose," Argue shared on Sabbath afternoon. "But emerging generations of young adults have faced unique challenges because of the coronavirus pandemic, social media and difficult economic conditions.” 

Argue told attendees he believes this creates an opportunity for churches to bring good news to young adults and build stronger intergenerational faith communities. He said the good news doesn’t always have to be in the form of a gospel message, because for many young people, good news can sometimes take the form of a free meal, a ride to work or church or an empathetic ear. 

He also challenged attendees to embrace young adults, even if they don’t attend church regularly, because they may be progressing toward a faith that is better able to navigate a rapidly changing and increasingly complex world. Ultimately, Argue said, “God is for young adults, He is with young adults, He believes in young adults and He is calling us to do the same.”

Featured in: July/August 2024