Adulting: How Long does ‘Youth’ last?

In my line of work (youth and young adult ministry), we often talk about the age range of youth and young adults. It varies in different places around the world.

With our church in the Philippines, the age for youth is between 12-24. In the United States, youth is from 12-18. When a person turn 18 years old, then he or she is considered a young adult and has reached the legal age. It means they are expected to be responsible for themselves and be liable for potential crimes or misdemeanor.

How long does a person stay as a ‘youth’?

It is fun to be a young person. It has its ‘stormy’ phase and you’re affected by moods and self-consciousness and many other issues. And then you grow up.

‘Adulting’ is one of those terms that recently caught social media’s attention. People post about getting an apartment, cooking for themselves, or just doing anything that is responsible and things that adults usually do.

I have recently enrolled in a Master’s degree in Youth Development. I am reading and learning a lot about adolescence, youth, emerging adulthood, and a lot of other things related to the youth and the process of growing up.

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The Word, the Web, and the Youth

I served as the National President of the United Methodist Youth Fellowship in the Philippines between June 2006 to May 2008. It was a great experience and helped me develop into the person and leader I am today. 

On November 19-20, 2007, I presented a paper entitled The Word, the Web, and the Youth as part of the Philippine Bible Forum organized by the Philippine Bible Society. Back then, Internet technologies such as blogs and social media started to takeoff. I explored the ministry implications of these technologies with young people. 

This paper represents some of earlier writings and it is one of my earliest efforts to understand the issues, trends, and challenges that young people are facing. In the process, I also wanted to help our church address these issues.

Reading it now, ten years later, some of it has become obsolete. That’s how quickly the Internet and the Web is evolving. But there are still some insights worth going back to. 

This paper was published on the compendium of papers presented during the Bible Forum.

Abstract

The Bible is the timeless word of God (Isaiah 40:8, NIV). Through the Bible we gain wisdom, guidance for our everyday lives and solace in times of trouble and grief. More importantly, it helps us to know God more deeply. This paper seeks to describe the characteristics of modern young people and their culture. The internet, Friendster, blogs, online communities, video games and other online platforms affect the social skills, the learning processes and the spirituality of young people. Undoubtedly, the Bible is still relevant in the lives of young people. But do they perceive it that way? This paper will present a cursory glance on the issues being faced by young people and the relevance of the Bible to these issues.

A set of strategies will then be proposed in order to make the Bible more relevant to young people. Three main principles will be used in proposing this set of strategies. First, creative, “out of the box” methods should be used in presenting the stories and message of the Bible. Interactivity is the language of this generation so qany effort to reach young people should have this element. Finally, practical and contextual issues will serve as gateways in teaching “deeper” spiritual truth to young people.

Lastly, this paper will call for the establishment of a think tank body or a network that can help recognize the trends in youth culture and how churches and ministries can present the Christian message more effectively. The Philippine Bible Society, together with other youth and campus ministries can assist in setting up this body.

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