Abstract: Synthesizing scholarly research in the fields of developmental psychology and spiritual formation among emerging adults, this article identifies fundamental psychosocial and spiritual needs, as well as factors most commonly found among teens who stay in the church as they become emerging adults. The unique struggles and faith stage development common to emerging adults makes this demographic keenly aware of the systemic or institutional challenges and perceived failures of the organized church. The church can ill afford to continue to neglect teaching, showing, and commissioning people with a purpose for living the Christian faith. A better approach is needed, and church leaders can shift from a focus on faith transmission to that of spiritual formation through disciple-making.
Dr. Joel W. Harder is the Chaplain of the Oklahoma House of Representatives and the Oklahoma State Director for Capitol Commission, a non-political and non-lobbying ministry to state capitols. He holds a MSW from Baylor University and an Ed.D. from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary where his research was in spiritual formation in marketplace ministry and e-mentoring in discipleship.