Initiative is connecting members in their 20s for training, fellowship, and inspiration.
Published on: 01-19-2024
“The Young Adult LIFE Tour was a transformative experience for young adults and leaders seeking guidance in their shared faith journey,” Lindsay Syeh, a pastor and young adult ministries director in the Southeastern Conference of the Adventist Church, said.
The Young Adult LIFE Tour is the North American Division’s young adult discipleship framework, giving focus to: Leadership Impact, Intergenerational Relationships, Faith Development, and Everyday Compassion. The tour had its third and most recent stop at Spring Meadows Seventh-day Adventist Church in central Florida, in the Southern Union Conference, in November.
That latest encounter, which included more than 200 registrants and 1,000-plus in attendance, was a weekend filled with meaningful connections, inspiration, and relevant training on growing together, church leaders said.
“We were inspired, enriched, and empowered,” Gregory Taylor, youth and young adult ministries director for the Southern Union, said. “The tour stop served as a catalyst for furthering the conversations about young adult ministry in our union … to get the word out about these incredible emerging adults who have a passion and excitement about their faith.”
Friday evening began with a presentation by Gregory Taylor and his wife, Kim, giving focus to the importance of the “twenty-something years,” what psychologist Meg Jay terms the “defining decade.”
“Young adults are experiencing many developmental milestones and life transitions during those years, and we are called to be empathetic, offering safe space for young adults to discover their identity and purpose … to belong,” Syeh said.
Syeh also made a presentation, challenging all generations to be conduits of care, comfort, and compassion, especially for young adults who have been hurt by the church.
“Ministry with young adults begins with listening; empathy and compassion must follow closely,” Chandler Tarbox, Spring Meadows young adult pastor, said. “God is moving intentionally in and through young adults.”
Saturday (Sabbath) morning featured young adult ministries best practices, with Tarbox interviewing young adults and church leaders who offered practical insights. Interactive and experiential sessions, refreshments, and discussion breakouts afforded attendees opportunity to engage the presenters and each other.
“The young adult energy and honesty was contagious,” Kim Taylor, Southern Union young adult ministries coordinator, said. “I have been challenged to be more intentional in reaching out and partnering with our young adults in ministry.”
“I learned that we don’t have to reinvent how we minister. We can start with a meal, mentorship … an intergenerational connection,” Syeh said.
The Sabbath worship service hosted nearly 1,100 in attendance from throughout the central Florida area, with guests from across the Southern Union and the North American Division. Steven Argue, author of Young Adult Ministry NOW, presented the sermon, with all generations leading and participating in the worship experience.
“Dr. Argue is a creative communicator and captured my imagination,” Juan Rodriguez, Florida Conference youth and young adult ministries director, said. “I was inspired to go deeper in how we empower and equip young adults.”
Spring Meadows church hosted a luncheon, with pastors and ministries directors from throughout the Southern Union serving the guests.
“It was a privilege hosting the Southern Union Young Adult LIFE Tour at Spring Meadows church,” Tarbox said.
“I was so inspired at the Young Adult LIFE Tour in Spring Meadows,” Kim Taylor said. “I look forward to seeing where this takes us as the Southern Union and beyond.”
The afternoon featured a training intensive, “Young Adult Ministry NOW,” with Argue, as well as time for sharing various ministry resources available through AdventSource. Argue, who serves as the applied research strategist for Fuller Youth Institute, offered findings from his book as well as tangible applications for local church leaders.
“I was unaware of the amount of research surrounding church growth among different age groups, and the work with focus groups verifying the findings,” young adult Joshua Blake, a church planter from North Carolina, said. “Knowing that my church is actively listening to emerging generations and thinking about future generations is encouraging.”
“The presentations throughout the weekend served as a powerful catalyst to further empower our young adults,” Tarbox said. “Recognizing and sharing where God is moving among my peers will elevate our young adult discipleship. It will require a commitment to implementing what we have learned, but it will be more than worth it.”
Argue agreed. “I loved how young adults engaged the Young Adult Ministry NOW training, bringing their ideas, perspectives, and energy,” he said. “I was also inspired by the genuine interest ministry leaders expressed in wanting to learn from and about young adults. The Young Adult LIFE Tour is more than an experience. It’s a faithful first step for those who want to take young adults seriously.”
“The Young Adult LIFE Tour was an amazing experience,” Rodriguez said. “Interacting with leaders and emerging adults helped me grow and develop a better understanding how I can help churches foster a thriving young adult ministry.”
Next Stop: Mid-American Union Conference
The Young Adult LIFE Tour will hold its next stop at College View Church, Lincoln, Nebraska, in the Mid-America Union Conference in the United States January 26-27, ministry leaders recently announced. It will be the first event in 2024 and the fourth event in the series. Plans are also being laid for tour stops in the North Pacific Union, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Canada territory, and the Lake Union.