“The Young Adult LIFE Tour was a great reminder of the power we have as young adults through God,” lauded Madeline Small, coordinator of the Adventist Young Professionals’ Dallas chapter. “The tour presenters showed us how we can use that God-given influence to effect change in the lives of those around us for the better.”
Responding to the call of local churches for training and guidance in developing young adult ministry, the Young Adult LIFE Tour aims to equip and empower local churches across the North American Division. The tour’s first stop was this spring in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, hosted by the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Many church leaders, parents, and adult members are eager to discover ways to engage and empower young adults in ministry and help them connect in meaningful ways with local church life. However, they are often at a loss as to where to start or how to begin building relationships. The Young Adult LIFE Tour intends to bring forward insights and relevant, doable steps toward building young adult ministry now. At this inaugural Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) tour stop, church members, leaders, and young adults from across the Southwestern Union gathered for inspiration and intensive training.
“It was enlightening and useful to know the many ways young adults can and should be reached,” shared Kyle Barrow, associate pastor of Auburn City Seventh-day Adventist Church and a recent graduate of Southwestern Adventist University.
The DFW tour stop featured presentations from Danielle Quaye, Pastor Justin Yang, and author Steven Argue. Among the highlights were informal meals to share stories, Sabbath sermons, a young adult ministry resource fair featuring AdventSource, and an afternoon “Young Adult Ministry NOW” training intensive.
“I was challenged by Dr. Argue’s sermon, which highlighted that we ought to do life with people—not just cheer them on from the sidelines but run the race with them,” reflected Quaye, a linguistics doctoral student at the University of Texas Arlington. “That’s what Christ has done for us. He came down to Earth, ran the race, and showed us His love in human flesh. I was inspired to do the same.”
“The DFW Young Adult LIFE Tour was one of the most practical and resourceful events to date, with Dr. Steven Argue presenting and training in the latest research on the 18–30 age bracket,” raved Yang, Young Adult Ministry director for the Texas Conference. “It opened up much-needed and long-overdue conversations with young adults on their stages of development, along with their relationship with the church and leadership.”
The Sabbath services introduced hundreds of local church members to Young Adult LIFE, the NAD’s young adult discipleship framework focusing on leadership impact, intergenerational relationships, faith development, and everyday compassion. Nearly a dozen churches from across the Southwestern Union were represented at the tour stop. The afternoon training intensive had over 15 different ministries represented with more than 40 church leaders in attendance, including Elton DeMoraes, Texas Conference president.
“My family and I were blessed by the Young Adult LIFE Tour DFW. The presenters shared valuable insights and best practices to start and sustain young adult ministries in a local church,” affirmed DeMoraes. “The fresh and meaningful content and the conversations around the table challenged us to think outside the box to reach this important age group.”
“It was a wonderful, enlightening experience that was greatly appreciated,” expressed Reggie and Timm Sharper, leaders of Grace Temple Now Young Adult Ministry from the Southwest Region Conference. “Dr. Argue was able to illustrate strong Christian concepts in a language young adults could easily understand and identify with. There are times when the wellsprings of knowledge you seek come near you, and this was one of those moments.”
A young adult ministry fair was set up with various tables of ministry opportunities, resources, and networks. AdventSource was the featured resource center at the tour stop, providing a wide array of young adult ministry resources for display. Those attending the afternoon training received a copy of Argue’s new book, Young Adult Ministry NOW.
“Pastor Steven Argue’s workshop opened the table for a much-needed discussion on how to connect with young adults,” endorsed Kellany Freitas, a worship leader at Comunidad Aliento in Fort Worth. “The tour helped us feel seen in the midst of a church culture that sometimes neglects our needs.”
“What I loved about the tour was the wide range of leaders who gathered: senior leaders, youth pastors, and young adults themselves,” Argue reflected. “Young adult ministry impacts us all, and these gatherings [provide] hopeful, informative, and supportive ways forward for our churches and faith communities.”
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 division where vibrant young adult ministry is thriving and bringing vitality to the whole congregation.
“As far as the Young Adult Life Tour DFW, it was a privilege being a part of such a God-led event,” exclaimed Kellany. “I would love to see more experiences like these!”
The next tour stop is slated for the Pacific Union on June 23–24, 2023, hosted by Praxis at Loma Linda University Church, then visiting the Southern Union on October 21, 2023, in Central Florida, hosted by Spring Meadows Seventh-day Adventist Church. On January 26–27, 2024, the Mid-America Union will see the tour arrive, hosted by Well Worship at the College View Seventh-day Adventist Church in Lincoln, Nebraska. Plans are underway for the Young Adult LIFE Tour to be held in the Canadian and North Pacific unions in the near future.
“Young Adult LIFE Tour provided an opportunity for church leaders, members, and families to come together and share, with vulnerability, all their experiences with church, which strengthened our sense of belonging,” summarized Pastor Jazzmine Bankston, of the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church. “I appreciated the discussions on ways we can become better listeners and close the generational gaps that silo us demographically, and, instead, [come] closer together as a church community.”
For more information on Young Adult LIFE and the Young Adult LIFE Tour, visit youngadultlife.com.
— A. Allan Martin, Ph.D., is the teaching pastor of Younger Generation Church (ygchurch.com), the vibrant young adult ministry of the Arlington Seventh-day Adventist Church in Texas.