This is part 5 in our 6 part series on spiritual stages. Please also see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. Today Ashley Chesnut moves her discussion on to the young adult stage of spiritual maturity.
One college girl whom I’m discipling leads a small group of girls in her sorority, and every time we meet, this leader has a barrage of questions for me. Recently, her questions included everything from the role/work of the Holy Spirit to a question about a passage in Mark to debriefing a particular situation going on with a hurting friend to dealing with a particular temptation in her own life to questions regarding maybe pursuing seminary and how to know if you’re called to ministry. This girl is a huge sponge for anything Jesus. He has changed her life this past year, and as she is meeting with her own small group girls, she can’t get enough. She’s realizing her own insufficiency, but she is pursuing Christ and obedience to Him, trusting Him to be her strength and wisdom. There is still a lot she does not know, but she is trying to apply what she is learning. This young lady is a spiritual young adult.
Spiritual Young Adults
Characteristics of Spiritual Young Adults Include:
- Actively serving
- God-centered and others-focused
- They understand the cost in following Christ and trust that He is worth the cost. They not only desire to know God, but they see that their relationship with Him is the most important part of their lives (and their lives and priorities are beginning to reflect this).
- They desire to serve, share, and disciple, but they lack knowledge and strategy in how to do this.
- Can often be naive.
How can we help spiritual young adults?
- Pray for them (notice a recurring theme with this suggestion?)
- If they are in your small group, provide them with opportunities to lead out in small group. Let them teach a week, and help them prepare. Allow them the opportunity to lead the time of prayer/praise or to be the one contacting folks who miss small group that week.
- Help them to see how they can use their gifts and passions to serve the body and to serve locally.
- As they serve, debrief with them. Walk through how their serving opportunities go and if they have any questions or things they want to talk through. There were times in Jesus’ ministry when He would send out the disciples in pairs, and when they returned, they would share what had happened then Jesus would continue to walk with them and to teach them.
- Help them fight cynicism and discouragement in tough times because ministry will get hard.
- Teach them how to have healthy boundaries and to use time well. They tend to say “yes” and struggle with saying “no.” Discuss discernment with regard to their commitments and the importance of going deep rather than wide in ministry. Just because you can do something does not mean that God wants you to commit to every opportunity that passes your way.
- Help them to learn how to identify false teaching, how to explain basic doctrine, and how to give simple answers to common questions that people ask such as how God can be good and allow bad things to happen.
- Teach them to be financially obedient in giving to the church and helping the poor, the widows, and the orphans.
- Help them to understand the difference between spinal issues (salvation-related) and rib issues (not central to salvation). We can agree to disagree with other believers regarding secondary issues such as baptism and even Calvinism/Arminianism. Such discussions with secondary issues should not disrupt our relationships with others, for we can still serve together and partner together with folks who, for example, have a different view of the timeline for Revelation.
- Show them how you structure your time to make discipleship and serving a priority.
Are you a spiritual young adult? If so, in what areas do you need to grow? What practical steps can you take this week to do so?
What questions do you have about how to help spiritual young adults whom God has placed in your life?
The next post will address spiritual parents.
Ashley Chesnut lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and works on the Local Disciple-Making Team at The The Church at Brook Hills. Having grown up in college ministry, Ashley has a passion for discipling college girls and for writing and teaching others about God’s Word. Check out more about discipleship and women’s ministry at the Brook Hills Women’s Blog.
Growing True Disciples – Barna