Home Podcast Steven Argue: It’s a Difficult Time to Be an Emerging Adult

Steven Argue: It’s a Difficult Time to Be an Emerging Adult

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Steven Argue is a professor at Fuller Theological Seminary where he teaches classes and advises masters and doctoral students. When he’s not researching with the Fuller Youth Institute, Steven speaks, writes, and consults for universities, churches, denominations, and parachurch organizations on the topic of adolescence and emerging adulthood. Steven and his wife, Jen, have three daughters and live in California.

Key Questions for Steven Argue

– How do you define adulting?

– What does research show that suggests young people have to go through more preparation today?

– How does the church play a positive role in an emerging adult’s life?

Key Quotes from Steven Argue

“Adulting is our child’s growth in agency as they embrace opportunities to shape the world around them.”

“It’s often the instinct of us older types…to use the phrase ‘when I was your age.’ As soon as that phrase is offered, I think for an older type they think that that’s a bridge-building phrase, but we’re finding for young people it actually isn’t bridge-building, it’s more of a barrier.”

“It takes longer for young people to grow up today. The delay of the typical markers of adulthood like marriage, career, or children are being started later than average—up to even 5 years later. And while young people, in some aspect, choose this, it also isn’t a choice. Education is more expensive, it takes longer. Establishing careers and relationships and family is more complex and requires more preparation.”

“The third decade of life isn’t about meandering, it’s about investment.”

“For most emerging adults, 30 is sort of a magic number. They kind of want to be on their way by the time they’re 30…”

“There’s something called intragenerational, where instead of things changing generation to generation with an overlap, within a generation things are changing so fast that the things you and I learned in high school aren’t even relevant to our lives today.”

“College tuition has increased probably about 200 percent since their parents went to college.”

“I think sometimes churches are masters of the unpaid internship.”

“For them, one of the key markers for adulthood is not so much marriage or even having a family, but it’s actually financial independence.”

“A lot of young people in their 20s, almost up to 50 percent, will at some point in time find a way back to living with their parents again.”

“This whole idea of work-life balance is non-existent to this generation.”

“Young people are looking for a group of people that is willing to take a risk in them in a world where your resume is never long enough and there’s always someone smarter than you and your competition is not with the person across the street but it’s really with someone on the other side of the world.”

“The church is bursting with good news that young people want to hear. If we keep telling ourselves that young people don’t care about the church, we’re going to miss the chance to recognize that if we actually think about what it means to invest in young people and advocate for them, I’m convinced that they’ll be lining up out the door because that’s what they want.”

“We have an opportunity to treat our young people as prophets rather than pariah.”

“We tell young people all the time that they can be anything, but I think what they really want is to be something.”

Mentioned in the Show:

Growing With

Growing Young


StevenArgue on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram


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As Vice President of Ministry Mobilization for Outreach, Inc., Jason dedicates his time to encouraging and equipping churches, denominations and ministry organizations to develop their Kingdom effectiveness by creating a culture that is both incarnational and invitational. He also serves as the Executive Director of the National Back to Church Sunday movement and hosts the weekly ChurchLeaders podcast. Jason lives on Anastasia Island, Florida, with his beautiful wife and children. Connect with him on Twitter and Instagram @jasondaye