20-somethings. What is the church doing?

What's the church doing to reach out to people in their 20s? Too much, too little...are we hitting the mark at all?

Consider this New York Times article, making the rounds as people in their 20s post it on Facebook.

What do you think?

What Is It About 20-Somethings?
Why are so many people in their 20s taking so long to grow up?
From the New York Times

This question pops up everywhere, underlying concerns about “failure to launch” and “boomerang kids.” Two new sitcoms feature grown children moving back in with their parents — “$#*! My Dad Says,” starring William Shatner as a divorced curmudgeon whose 20-something son can’t make it on his own as a blogger, and “Big Lake,” in which a financial whiz kid loses his Wall Street job and moves back home to rural Pennsylvania. A cover of The New Yorker last spring picked up on the zeitgeist: a young man hangs up his new Ph.D. in his boyhood bedroom, the cardboard box at his feet signaling his plans to move back home now that he’s officially overqualified for a job. In the doorway stand his parents, their expressions a mix of resignation, worry, annoyance and perplexity: how exactly did this happen?

It’s happening all over, in all sorts of families, not just young people moving back home but also young people taking longer to reach adulthood overall. It’s a development that predates the current economic doldrums, and no one knows yet what the impact will be — on the prospects of the young men and women; on the parents on whom so many of them depend; on society, built on the expectation of an orderly progression in which kids finish school, grow up, start careers, make a family and eventually retire to live on pensions supported by the next crop of kids who finish school, grow up, start careers, make a family and on and on. The traditional cycle seems to have gone off course


Comments (6)

As a 20-something, this article makes me angry. Even presupposing this is a real phenomenon, it's pretty much limited to upper-middle-class well-educated 20-somethings. That's a small proportion of the population. I know it uses the example of the young woman who is supposedly in this "developmental stage" because she's considering getting an associate's degree to increase her earning power, but somehow that just looks a lot like what adults do: trying to get a better job.

I personally would like $21,000 a month to learn to be "autonomous," but I tend to think there are enough people out there in the world with actual real problems (see: Haiti; Pakistan; the half-dozen homeless who froze to death last winter in DC) that this is almost unbelievably ludicrous.

Mike Lockaby

I spent my 20s in grad school getting a PhD and then a university faculty job. I get really annoyed at articles that assume adulthood is defined by marriage and kids because there are so many other possible paths. People live at home for all kinds of personal and professional reasons that don't indicate a lack of maturity.

What if, instead of "reaching out" to us, you just started serving Christ. I don't want someone to reach out to me. I mean, I want to be included, but I don't want a church campaign to like, Save the godless Meandering Young Adults of America. I want community and I want my Jesus.

Willie Goforth

The words 'church', 'religion', and 'Christianity' all fail to make an appearance in the cited article.

Last Friday's 'Houses of Worship' column in the Wall Street Journal _did_ provide a discussion of 20-something Christianity - "The Perils of 'Wannabe Cool' Christianity" - (400+ comments!) at: http://tinyurl.com/29gzjsa (might need subscription).

Or perhaps we are returning to an older pattern of families living together rather than the relatively recent trend of people going of in tiny uneconomical (now) groups. The economy and lack of jobs is the primary reason for gathering together to support one another - not some lack of maturity.

Ann, I think I agree lots. I'm a 20 something living "on my own" with a roommate but my younger brother just moved back in with our parents while he looks for a job that would enable him to support himself. It is really tough out there right now for young people just starting out and lots of families are doing what families are supposed to do: supporting one another through tough times. My dad had something of a rude awakening himself when he sat with a few struggling 20s friends of mine and considered just how few good jobs there are out there even for college educated folks and how much more expensive and complicated "independence" is these days...

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