My college ministry friend, Eric Ferrell, sent me a link to a NY Times article called, “What is it about 20-Somethings?” The article is recognizing the ever-changing process twenty-somethings go through as they work their way toward adulthood. I have discussed this issue in multiple ways over the years (books, articles, etc.) and have used a variety of sources in my research. Others have also sought to help church leaders recognize this change. Well, now, we have the NY Times talking about it again. The article says this about delayed adulthood:
“We’re in the thick of what one sociologist calls “the changing timetable for adulthood.” Sociologists traditionally define the “transition to adulthood” as marked by five milestones: completing school, leaving home, becoming financially independent, marrying and having a child. In 1960, 77 percent of women and 65 percent of men had, by the time they reached 30, passed all five milestones. Among 30-year-olds in 2000, according to data from the United States Census Bureau, fewer than half of the women and one-third of the men had done so. A Canadian study reported that a typical 30-year-old in 2001 had completed the same number of milestones as a 25-year-old in the early ’70s.”
I think this is a great thing that this is being talked about and recognized! Well, that is, if we actually catch on and seek to address the needs. It’s one thing to recognize the change…it’s another to actually meet the needs the change brings on!
In my book College Ministry 101 I have discussed the issues bringing some of these changes on and what college age people think through in midst of this extended adolescent-like process (1/2 the book is devoted to these issues). I’ve also discussed how we can help them. My two newest books, The Slow Fade as well as College Ministry From Scratch are tools for churches to embrace this change in our culture. Regardless of whether or not these tools are utilized I really hope we can catch on to this…we’re already 15-20 years behind!!!!
The article also issues some stats that are interesting:
“The 20s are a black box, and there is a lot of churning in there. One-third of people in their 20s move to a new residence every year. Forty percent move back home with their parents at least once. They go through an average of seven jobs in their 20s, more job changes than in any other stretch. Two-thirds spend at least some time living with a romantic partner without being married. And marriage occurs later than ever. The median age at first marriage in the early 1970s, when the baby boomers were young, was 21 for women and 23 for men; by 2009 it had climbed to 26 for women and 28 for men, five years in a little more than a generation.”
Interesting findings and I would recommend you read the article…