Hi from New Mexico… it’s time for another “trends to watch” post. If you didn’t read the prologue of the first “Futures Market” post two weeks ago, I’d encourage you to do that here (and you’ll find the first three trends there, as well). The second list of trends can be found here.
More trends / “hot topics” I’ve noticed, (regardless of my stance on their propriety or sustainability!):
“Young Adult” age/stage. Far more than I predicted I would, I’ve seen churches and others recognizing this specific “age group” or “life stage” called Young Adult. While the application of this specific term can vary – I’ve seen it describe age spans of 22-29, 22-35, 18-25, 18-29, and 18-35 – ministries have discovered this new, quite common stage of life.
In this case, “Young adult” as a technical term specifically describes individuals who…
- are centered in the community, not the college campus (though some may actually be attending college or especially graduate school)
- aren’t “Singles” (and do NOT want to be called that); if they’re single, they plan on probably being married, aren’t (too) surprised marriage hasn’t happened yet, and have a multitude of peers in the same boat
- are sometimes in fact already married, but without kids – and actually may feel more similar to single people their same age than to married people with babies
If you noticed, those last 2 bullet points represent a switch from the situation even 5-10 years ago. I was quite surprised how often I saw the term “Singles” used to designate this “Young Adult” life stage in churches. The word “Singles” is certainly still used, but it’s surprisingly rare nationally.
Post-graduation adventures. I am expecting a growing market for “adventures” for college students following graduation – or even as a “gap year” within their college career. Missions will be one available option, but so are PeaceCorps, the military, independent foreign travel, random internships, other short-term jobs, time spent living in various locations, etc. In any case, there is much potential for harnessing this mentality among students – who, for better or worse, don’t exactly want to step into the “real world” just yet or may still be discovering what avenues to pursue once they do.
The Truth Project. It’s surprising when any college ministry resource becomes well-known, but it’s even more surprising that I’ve heard multiple acclamations for the Truth Project material, published by Focus on the Family, from people who probably wouldn’t consider themselves “Focus on the Family types.” As best I can tell, the material includes “new apologetics” presented with a basic collegiate lecture approach, enhanced with multiple cutaways to multimedia, humor pieces, etc. The word of mouth on this one is growing, it seems.
I do know they’re working on an updated edition, as well, even though the present one isn’t very old.
Written from Glorieta Conference Center, Glorieta, NM