The Young Adult Life Tour was a transformative experience for young adults and leaders seeking guidance in their shared faith journey,” said Lindsay Syeh, Southeastern Conference pastor and young adult ministries director. “I learned that we don’t have to reinvent how we minister. We can start with a meal, mentorship … an intergenerational connection.”
The third stop of the Young Adult LIFE Tour landed in the Southern Union Conference at Spring Meadows Church in central Florida. With more than 200 registrants and 1,000-plus in attendance, the weekend was filled with meaningful connections, inspiration, and relevant training on growing together.
“We were inspired, enriched, and empowered,” said Gregory Taylor, youth and young adult ministries director for the Southern Union. “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 the Taylors giving focus to the importance of the “twenty-something years,” what psychologist Meg Jay, Ph.D., advocates as the “defining decade.”
Syeh resonated, “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 also presented, 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,” said Chandler Tarbox, Spring Meadows Church young adult pastor. “God is moving intentionally in and through young adults.”
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,” shared Kim Taylor, Southern Union young adult ministries coordinator. “I have been challenged to be more intentional in reaching out and partnering with our young adults in ministry.”
Sabbath worship 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, Ph.D., 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,” affirmed Juan Rodriguez, Florida Conference youth and young adult ministries director. “I was inspired to go deeper in how we empower and equip young adults.”
Spring Meadows Church hosted an exceptional luncheon with pastors and ministries directors from throughout the Southern Union serving guests.
“It was a privilege hosting the Southern Union Young Adult Life Tour at Spring Meadows Church,” shared Tarbox.
“I was so inspired at the Young Adult Life Tour in Spring Meadows,” said Kim Taylor, “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 fsharing 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,” shared young adult Joshua Blake, a church planter from North Carolina. “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,” shared Tarbox. “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.”
“I loved how young adults engaged the Young Adult Ministry NOW training, bringing their ideas, perspectives, and energy,” said Argue. “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,” said Rodriguez. “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.”
Wanting to be more than an instructional event, the Young Adult LIFE Tour intends to be experiential and interactive, seeking to hold tour stops in local Adventist churches across the NAD where vibrant young adult ministry is thriving and bringing vitality to the whole congregation. The new year brings the tour to Mid-American Union, January 26-27, 2024. Plans are being laid for tour stops in North Pacific Union, Canadian Union, and Lake Union as well. For more information go to youngadultlife.com
Southern Union | January 2024