WHO: Kara Powell, executive director of the Fuller Youth Institute and a faculty member at Fuller Theological Seminary; and Steven Argue, associate professor of youth, family and culture at Fuller Theological Seminary and applied research strategist at the Fuller Youth Institute.
THE BOOK: Growing With: Every Parent’s Guide to Helping Teenagers and Young Adults Thrive in Their Faith, Family and Future (Baker Publishing Group/Baker Books, 2019)
THEY SAY: “We really encourage parents, step-parents and grandparents to read this book with a friend, another parent or a small group. Let this book be a springboard for information, support and your own growth.”
THE BIG IDEA: Growing With offers a roadmap to the changing landscapes of today’s young people, providing ministry leaders and families with helpful tools to support their maturing kids’ connections with family, faith and future. It inspires parents to remember that as their kids grow up, parents can—and must—grow, too.
WHY CHURCH LEADERS SHOULD READ IT: We wrote Growing With to equip youth pastors, young adult pastors and senior/lead pastors to help parents, families and young people.
WHY CONGREGANTS SHOULD READ IT: Our changing world and growing kids bring new parenting challenges and questions that can make parents feel overwhelmed and isolated. The good news is that each of us can take steps toward our teens and young adults in a mutual journey of intentional growth that trusts God to transform us all.
QUOTABLE: “Parenting at this stage isn’t about meeting your kid halfway. Parenting is more about being all-in.”
A CONVERSATION WITH THE AUTHORS
The three concepts you define—withing, faithing and adulting—how can they be applied to the church?
These terms highlight three domains that all teenagers and young adults are navigating, namely their family relationships, their relationship with God, and their relationship with our world. We have emphasized these domains as verbs because they must change as we grow. Withing is a term we coined to describe a family’s growth in supporting one another as children grow more independent. Faithing captures the connection of young peoples’ ongoing journeys to follow Jesus into their growing and increasingly complex worlds. Adulting is rooted in two crucial points of maturation for young people–relational adulting and vocational adulting.
We believe not just young people, but all ages, experience withing, faithing, and adulting and we hope these concepts promote more dialogue in our churches. These are essential preaching topics. They are at the core of parenting small groups. They are key categories for any youth or young adult ministry leader who believes their ministry serves both young people and parents.
In your opinion, what is the No. 1 opportunity the church is missing to reach teenagers and young adults with the gospel?
Adults can start by really noticing that young people are on relational, spiritual, and formational quests and are hungry for support and understanding. Thus, churches must look beyond short-term programming and start to play the formational long-game. How might churches use the amazing ministry and mentoring resources in their congregations to encourage young people’s flourishing in their family, faith, and future?
Adults, then, can commit to growing with young people by growing themselves. Young people seek parents and mentors they see who are growing too, rather than only trying to change them. This requires more relational investment and fewer “one size fits all” solutions.
How do you see the younger generation changing their view of and participation in religion?
We believe most young people desire to make sense of their worlds, and this includes spiritual sense. Faith is important to them and they want to know if the gospel is able to speak to the questions facing their generation. Teenagers and young adults also want to use their talents to bring healing to the world. The church can support them by funding and coaching their efforts. Do this, and the word will get out that your church takes young people seriously and supports them. Young people will begin to see that their longings and hope align with the great news of Jesus.