Dr Todd Hall of BIOLA University presented research findings on Emerging Adults at Wheaton College in April 2019. My primary takeaway was in the general themes of the research results, which included, Emerging Adults are:
- Pursuing authenticity in their relationship with God
- Guarded against vulnerability and seeking protection from emotional hurt
- Maturing in spiritual development; from behaviors and practices to relationship
- Fluctuating in their connection with God; sometimes near, sometimes far; sometimes loves; sometimes distant (described as being like a slinky)
- Seeking corrective emotional experiences with God
- Feeling emotional insecurity with God
Emerging Adults are beginning to own their faith but do not yet have complete ownership; they are struggling to feel loved but do not yet choose to follow in times of turmoil; they are passive but are not yet purposeful; and they are disconnected but not yet connected. Many of them are facing spiritual pain and are struggling to grow.
We can help Emerging Adults through this phase by normalizing instability, facilitating their personal ownership of faith, facilitating intentionality about spiritual community and develop authoritative spiritual communities.
Most importantly, they study shows that Emerging Adults are hardwired to connect, report biases in connecting to very similar people, and need multi-generational depth and contact in order to successfully move into young adulthood.