Christian Anderson and Emerging Adults
I participated in my first “webinar” today (that word makes me want to vomit, I don’t know why but I just hate it). It was an interview Christianity Today did with sociologist Christian Anderson. He has been doing research about the characteristics of certain age groups and the way they relate to faith and religion. This particular interview was about his research with what he calls Emerging Adults (18-29). Here’s the highlights.
- This age group used to be “settling down,” but that is no longer true in our culture. College, grad school, the transience of our world, and the willingness of parents to support kids into their twenties are combining to make it a very unsettled time.
- EA value freedom and exploration, which makes them unlikely to engage traditional religious expression (this is associated with “settling down.”)
- The teens who keep their faith into EA usually have parents who practice and model faith, read Scripture and participate in spiritual disciplines, and have a congregation that cares about and relates to them.
- The most prevalent religion is “Moralistic-therapeutic deism.” In other words, God wants what’s best for me and wants me to have lots of stuff. This begins to fall apart as EA encounter more of life’s difficulties.
- 1 in 10 EAs are actively hostile to Christian faith.
- The best way for the church to engage EA is through relationships and community, not programs. This needs to be done outside the church building in places like coffee shops and at parties.
- EAs are highly impacted by society’s self-esteem overkill (everyone gets a trophy). They expect to get everything they want out of life.