What role does the church have in caring for and nurturing faith in young people who show relatively little interest in spiritual matters?
The so-called “nones” are not anti-religion or anti-God, but they have no spiritual moorings, according to Pew Research studies. And they account for one-third of adults under the age of 30.
Two of the authors of Lost in Transition: The Dark Side of Emerging Adulthood, will lead the conversation, sharing insights from their book — a study of the spiritual life of young people from adolescence to young adulthood. Cited in the book are five problem areas plaguing young adults: confused moral reasoning (there are no absolutes in their world), routine intoxication, materialistic life goals, regrettable sexual experiences and disengagement from civic and political life.
The Rev. Dr. Terry Dittmer, director of Youth Ministry with the Office of National Mission — which is sponsoring the symposium — notes that in many ways, this is a depressing topic. “At the same time,” he says, “implicit in the study are things the church can do to nurture young adults through this transitional time of life.”
At the symposium:
- Lost in Transition authors Hilary Davidson, a Ph.D. student at the University of Notre Dame, and Patricia Herzog, assistant professor at the University of Arkansas, will present findings of their study.
- Tom Couser, long-time director of Christian education and author of Passing the Torch: Sharing Faith and Values with the Millennnial Generation, will provide a Lutheran response to the study.
- Dr. Craig Oldenburg, director of children’s ministry at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Loveland, Colo., will facilitate table discussions that are designed to help participants consider how to use the information in parish settings.
The annual symposium, Dittmer added, “is always an opportunity to take us outside our comfort zone, to explore new and challenging realities in our culture, and get us to think a bit outside the box.”
Registration is $175 (or $135 for students) and includes two lunches. Housing is available for $69 per night, including breakfast, at the symposium site, the Hilton St. Louis Airport.