Category: twentysomethings

Animate: A New Kind of Bible Study

I work with small groups on a regular basis, and I always have my radar up for new and interesting Bible studies. When evaluating small group curriculum, I’m looking for a few factors:

  1. Simple, straightforward prep for leaders. Leaders often feel more comfortable leading a small group if they have material they can pick up, preview, and easily run with.  A well-prepared leader is a key factor for a positive group experience.
  2. Low level of “homework”. Most small group participants will not do homework for the study (even if they say upfront they want to). Small group curriculum that comes with a set of short videos for small groups to watch together is a great alternative to requiring preparation outside of the group.
  3. Options for those who want to dig deeper. While most participants will not do homework, a couple of the rockstar members will want go above and beyond.  These participants will gravitate towards studies that provide something to mull over during the week.
  4. Challenging. The best small group experience happens when people are challenged and have the freedom to explore theological and practical ideas in the context of a safe, grace-filled learning community. Too many guardrails of what’s okay or not okay to say kills a discussion and leaves participants wondering if the weekly meeting is worth their time.

animate-series-review

 

Recently I’ve gotten the opportunity to take a look at the Animate series from Sparkhouse, and it has all the marks of a great study. Helpful facilitators guide. Short DVD experience. Journal for the participant. More questions than answers.

(more…)

Book Review: 20 and Something

I’m loving these Frames mini-books.

 _225_350_Book.1085.cover

What is this book about?

20 and Something: Have the Time of Your Life (And Figure It All Out Too) discusses the issues surrounding today’s “roaring 20s”. Some people think that 20somethings are caught in an extended adolescence and need a good whack in the be-hind to grow up and get moving on with life. Others have a bit more mercy and see this group as slightly overwhelmed adults who are freedom fighters, risk-takers, and dreamers. David H. Kim invites all of those who work with, care about, or have an interest in 20somethings to carefully consider the multiple factors playing into this perfect storm of the quarter life. He does a fantastic job of shedding hope on what some people see as a stunted generation.

Why did I choose to review this?

I have a special place in my heart for 20somethings. While I’m on the cusp of the GenX and Millenials generation cutoffs, I do feel like I identify more with the Millenials. While I have a family and a grown-up life, I also get the huge questions of life and the crazy amount of choices that we now have. Who wants to go into a job that sucks the life out of you? Why would someone spend 40-60 hours a week somewhere that they didn’t absolutely love and have a passion for? I think this generation has grown up being the children of adults who dislike their jobs, have had dissolved marriages, and work so that they can someday retire. I get it. I also enjoy working with college students, so I thought this little book might be helpful to read!

In the Re-frame, Phyllis Tickle shares her experience as a 20something (which was 60 years ago!) and identifies the present day quarter life crisis as a result of a lack of center in these young adults. Once upon a time, she says, people grew up in a  location and stayed there. They knew who they were, where they were going to live, what they were going to do, and who was going to be a part of their community. Today is almost never the case.

For Christians, their “center” is found at church, but that’s not as easy as it once was. “At church” no longer means what it once did. For Phyllis, one spiritual practice that has helped her to stay centered is practicing the prayers of the daily office- praying throughout the day at certain times, praying prayers of our spiritual mothers and fathers, and knowing that Christians in every timezone are praying those too. Of course, she knows this is not for everyone, but she challenges 20somethings to find something, some kind of spiritual discipline, if you will, that helps them to stay focused on the long journey with Christ, even if the location and community changes around them.

My takeaway:

Millenials are an incredibly difficult group to pin down. It’s hard to look at statistics and make sense out of them. In the book I found a few statistics that were a bit contradictory– I don’t think this was because the research was done wrong or reported incorrectly. I think it’s because this group of people is generally a bit paradoxical. The best bet in understanding this generation is not to focus so much on the statistics, but to get to know them. Invite them to dinner. Attend an event with them. Mentor them. Ask them questions.

Questions I’m now asking:

1. What practices can I engage in to “find my center” as Phyllis Tickle mentions in her re-frame section of the book?

2. How can I help others engage in practices that will find their center?

Where you can go to find more: 

You can learn more about Barna Frames, and also about the two authors, David H. Kim and Phyllis Tickle.

Thanks to Booklook Bloggers for providing this mini book in exchange for an honest review. 

**Some of the above links are affiliate links.** 

What is Normal?

Over break, I’ve been catching up on some reading that I’ve had on my bookshelf for awhile…most of it having to do with collegiate ministry and young adults/ twentysomethings. One that I’m reading right now is Twentysomething by Margaret Feinberg. It’s pretty general so far, but still a good resource for those working with students just about to graduate college or just out of college.

One point that Margaret makes is that we too often compare ourselves to others’ progress. We hear about these AMAZING people in their twenties who are doing great, inspiring, meaningful things. They’re starting businesses, have 4 kids, travelling around the world, or in the NFL. We forget that these people are not the norm. If they were, we wouldn’t hear about them. But, because we have the internet and access to lots of things around the world, these stories are only getting more and more frequent. These stories often leave us “normal” people feeling like we should be further along in life, or that we’re lacking in some area. But this is simply not true.

My generation is trying to achieve in 10 years what our parents achieved over their lifetime. We want the house, the furniture, the job, the position/title, the education, the travel experience, and the family that takes time to get. In order to not be the generation that is stressed out and pushed to the limits, we gotta slow down, take time for people (including our growing families), and learn to rest. And to enjoy God and His creation. Isn’t that so hard?

Okay, so as an encouragement and reminder to myself and hopefully to any readers that are out there, I am going to start highlighting some ordinary, normal people who may or may not be making the news about their amazing accomplishments, but who are seriously impacting the world for the good. If you have any suggestions, please email me at tiffanydotmalloyatgmaildotcom.

Quarterlife Crisis

The growing trend today is to talk about graduating college students as having a “quarterlife crisis.” Midlife crisises, as we’re more familiar with, are when the tension of 3 conflicting desires climax: to have a successful career, to have satisfaction in your work, and to have a rich personal life (Guinness in The Call, 143).

Some in the media and church like to criticize the younger generation for being slow in growing up and lazy in pursuing financial independence. This generation takes time to choose what they want to do, are slow to settle down on a one-track career, and want immediate gratification in their jobs (instead of climbing the corporate ladder to meaningfulness). Could it be that we’ve seen the incontentness and midlife crisis’ of our parents and other elders, and are protecting ourselves from that from the beginning? This is my thesis; we’ll see how it works out in 20-30 years.

Community and Service- do we REALLY want them?

I’ve been reading a bunch of stuff about this next generation (both the one above and below me, since I’m kinda on the edge of both of them), and I’m beginning to doubt some of the research.

Two things that characterize this generation is wanting true community (honesty, vulnerability, family-like closeness) and opportunities to make a difference/change the world.

At the surface, yes, we do want those things. But, I think that these desires are being hijacked by our selfishness. We want true community, but only if it’s OTHER people being authentic, honest and vulnerable. Only if we want OTHER people to be intentional about community. Very often will we be the first one to put our necks out. We want opportunities to make a difference, that’s true too. But observations I’ve made from my own experience and listening to some others’ experiences in different parts of the country: 1.) we tend to not like to serve when push comes to shove, especially when it’s at an inconvenient time, it’s not fun or glamorous, and it’s not something we particularly enjoy doing. 2.) we tend to get excited about something, talk alot about it, and then not do it, or just do it once and then go on to the next new thing.

So, do we just WANT these things- are they values that we want to value, or are these values that are really characteristic of our actions?

Jesus’ words have been ringing in my ears lately- I’ve not come to be served but to serve… what implications does that have on my family’s life (family as in biological and community)? Conviction has come, and I must repent.

What do you think? Do we really want these things? Or do we just like the idea of them?

A Momentus Monday

Tomorrow marks 2 exciting events- I begin seminary and Aly turns 2 months. 🙂

6 months ago I wouldn’t have guessed that I’d be enrolling in Asbury Seminary full-time. I had just applied, but thought I’d be taking one class at a time for the next 8 years. Little did I know that I’d get the opportunity to go full-time. I’m SO excited to learn and move towards the vision God’s given me.

Tomorrow morning some of my friends and I will be meeting to dream about how to better help collegiates and young adults grow in their walk with Christ from the ages of 18-30. I don’t know what the brainstorming session will hold, but I’m excited about it nonetheless; I’m thankful for the really creative, passionate, and twentysomething-loving friends that I have. Hopefully we’ll have a clearer picture of what the next steps by noon tomorrow.

On the other note, I can’t believe Aly is 2 months already. She’s becoming slightly less cranky everyday, which jake and i are both thankful for. She still isn’t the happiest baby ever, but I think as her acid reflux is disappearing, life is getting better for her. We’ve been getting lots of smiles and “coo”s lately, which is excellent feedback for tired parents. She’s also been doing some major sleeping through the night (for her age) most nights, which also makes her tired parents happy.