The shift from adolescence to adulthood, a recently identified stage of life called "emerging adulthood," covers an increasing span of years in today's culture (roughly ages 18-30) due to later marriages and extended education. During this prolonged stage of exploration and self-definition, many young adults drift away from the church.
Here two authors--both veteran teachers who are experienced in young adult and campus ministry--address this new and urgent field of study, offering a Christian perspective on what it means to be spiritually formed into adulthood. They provide a "practical theology" for emerging adult ministry and offer insight into the key developmental issues of this stage of life, including identity, intimacy and sexuality, morality, church involvement, spiritual formation, vocation, and mentoring. The book bridges the gap between academic and popular literature on emerging adulthood and offers concrete ways to facilitate spiritual formation among emerging adults.
1. Faith: The Emerging Adult Landscape
2. Spiritual Formation: Reversing Moralistic Therapeutic Deism
3. Identity: Internalization, Refusal, and Engagement
4. Church: Forming an Ecclesiological Vision
5. Vocation: Purpose and Providence
6. Morality: Training the Dispositions of the Soul
7. Sexuality: Forming a Sexual Ethic
8. Relationships: Pitfalls and Pathways
9. Mentoring: Past, Present, and Future
"A thoughtful, well-informed analysis of the spiritual lives of today's emerging adults, this book provides a smooth integration of social science research and Christian insights. The authors go beyond the data to offer helpful suggestions for engaging these young people in religious life. Everyone who cares about guiding the spiritual development of emerging adults will benefit from reading this book."
Jeffrey Jensen Arnett, author, Emerging Adulthood: The Winding Road from the Late Teens through the Twenties
"David Setran and Chris Kiesling have written a conceptually rich book that also includes wise suggestions for formational practices. They are very aware of the challenges facing those in this generation but are also optimistic about how grace can work during this time of transition."
James C. Wilhoit, author, Spiritual Formation as if the Church Mattered: Growing in Christ through Community
"Setran and Kiesling issue a timely call for a 'practical theology' that responds to the distinctive hungers of emerging adults. This well-researched, informative, practical, and evocative book will serve those who harbor a traditional Christianity--and others--as a significant response to that vital call."
Sharon Daloz Parks, author, Big Questions, Worthy Dreams: Mentoring Emerging Adults in Their Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Faith
"In this book, Setran and Kiesling set the agenda for Christian ministry with emerging adults. Cutting through the fog of confusion and fear that surrounds this life stage, the authors convincingly and sympathetically explain why so many emerging adults struggle to grow into spiritually mature followers of Jesus. The authors offer wise, theologically grounded advice that can help emerging adulthood become a season of spiritual opportunity rather than a decade of life in which discipleship is on hold. Parents, pastors, counselors, campus ministers, college professors, and all those who care about the spiritual lives of emerging adults need to read this book."
Thomas E. Bergler, professor of ministry and missions, Huntington University; author, The Juvenilization of American Christianity; senior associate editor, The Journal of Youth Ministry
"Young adults need guidance and so do those who desire to help them mature into healthy adulthood. This book provides a lucid overview of the current research regarding emerging adulthood as well as accessible guidelines for reaching this generation with the Gospel. The authors make a strong case for why the church should take emerging adulthood research and emerging adults more seriously. Most refreshing, the central motivation behind Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood is not the desire to grow a church or young adult program, but to see young people grow up in Christ."
Derek Melleby, director, CPYU's College Transition Initiative; author, Make College Count: A Faithful Guide to Life and Learning; coauthor, Learning for the Love of God: A Student's Guide to Academic Faithfulness
"David Setran and Chris Kiesling have written a marvelous book that seasons social science research with biblical and theological wisdom. Each chapter covers critical features of the complexities of emerging adult development and the authors' guidance on mentoring alone is worth the price of the book. This book is well conceived and ably written. I highly recommend Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood."
Steve Rankin, chaplain, Southern Methodist University
"Recognized for their judicious scholarship and reflective ministry practice, Setran and Kiesling offer a comprehensive guide to both understanding and ministering among emerging adults in their faith journeys. Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood pulsates with a passion to nurture young adults toward growing faithfulness and conformity to the image of Christ. This is practical theology of spiritual formation at its best."
S. Steven Kang, professor of educational ministries and interdisciplinary studies, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary