I sat in a session today at the orange conference by chuck bomar. I have about three pages of notes and I won’t be able to push them all here but I will say this session has been the best so far. Adolescence has changed and youth today wrestle with adulthood much later on in life than our grandparents did. When I say adulthood I am talking about responsibility, vocation, occupation, settling in, knowing who they are, and living with intention. They are lost and wondering just trying to fin their way.
Here were five observations Chuck made of the different stages 18-25yr olds go through. They may not go through all of them on their way to identity but regardless of where they are at it’s important to respond appropriately with grace as they find their way.
1. Substitute – 18-25yr olds in this phase become where they are. In other words they absorb the environment they are in and the people they are with conforming appropriately to survive. They have little self-awareness and struggle with it to the point that they let others define it at every turn.
2. The Floater – 18-25yr olds in this phase are waiting to se what happens almost as if they are expecting something to just happen. This is the student who when asked by a friend if they want to go to a concert will say yes, charge the cost of the ticket not have the means, and go giving little account for consequences. They wistfully float through every pressure point of growth and learning.
3. Explorer – 18-25yr olds in this phase explorer a lot of options, have multiple jobs, and go to multiple churches. There is nothing they will commit to and don’t need to be condemned because of it. Simply consistent and help them as they are on a road of process.
4. Tent Maker – 18-25yr olds in this phase setup camp in an interest or passion and go after it with everything they have. The only problem is that they believe they will find self worth and identity in the cause or opportunity rather than in Christ. When the circumstances change they are disappointed and disenfranchised.
5. Theologian – 18-25yr olds in this phase will hopefully stay here. Theologians are not meant to be defined as scholars but instad individuals whose roots and circumstances are navigated by who Jesus is and what he has done as their identity. This is the sweet spot that students must come to for character, stability, and trajectory.
The point of each stage is to understand how to create environments where relationships can be forged that change the thoughts and identity of those who are in process and lost among our 18-25yrs old. Chuck wrote the book on this topic called World’s Apart (amazon link)