What Do Adventists Offer for Young Adults?

In recent years, the age group often classified as “young adults” has been trickier to engage. It’s been a significant concern for Christian churches around the world. Though interestingly enough, similar observations regarding young adults have been coming up in conversations about the economy, the entertainment industry, politics, and more.

We could discuss the likely causes for this disengagement until we’re blue in the face. But most research agrees that these young people, aged 18-35, often report feeling lonely, misunderstood, and/or frustrated with the status quo. They also long for community and acceptance.1

That’s why the Seventh-day Adventist Church makes it a priority to understand and cater to the unique needs of today’s young adults in the volatile, digitally-focused, social-media-saturated society we live in.

Generational differences are inevitable, so our methods will be ever-adapting. But here’s a look into what the Adventist Church does to help young adults have a place to belong and a place to serve with their gifts.

We’ll go over:

Let’s get started.

What are young adult ministries?

A young adult standing in front of a cross and showing his commitment to follow Jesus ChristAs of recently, young adult ministries focus on the age group and stage of life that begins in the later years of college, or as a young person is becoming independent. This usually ends up covering the ages of 21-30.2

The official mission of young adult ministry in the Adventist Church is:

“The engagement and salvation of young adults through Jesus Christ. We understand this ministry to be that work of the church that is conducted for, with, and by young people.”3

Although there are official resources and programming from the General Conference,4 or the World Headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, most young adult ministry options are organized and operated on the local level, because the size and needs of this age group can vary so much depending on location and community type.

For example, the North American Division (NAD) has a ministry called the Adventist Christian Fellowship.5 Their goal is for Adventist college students to witness at public colleges.

And at individual church locations, you might find:

  • Young adult Sabbath school groups
  • Young adult Bible study groups
  • Interest-based activity groups (biking, hiking, board games, book clubs, etc.)
  • Hobby-based activities (drawing, knitting, or cooking)
  • Community service projects (food donations, distributing Christian literature, homeless feeding, Habitat for Humanity, etc.)
  • Stage-of-life activities or events (parenting groups or classes, marriage encounter events, financial planning seminars, etc.)
  • Mission trips (like this mission cruise!)

Overall, these programs help young people grow spiritually as they befriend and serve others.

How young adult ministry started in the Adventist Church

The first young adult ministry was created in 1879, when two teenagers formed the Adventist Youth Society.6 Henry Fenner and Luther Warren saw the need for a community of believers to uplift and guide each other to Christ.7 This group ministered to both Adventists and non-Adventists—joining them together in Bible study, worship, and fun activities.8

In 1907, the Adventist Church formally created a ministry called, “Young People’s Society of Missionary Volunteers.”9 But by 1979, this name was shortened to “Adventist Youth.”10

Today, however, the phrase “Adventist Youth” refers to ministries for high school-aged kids. Whereas the ministry for 20-35-year-olds is now called Young Adults, or YA—a category that is relatively new not just in the church realm, but in society as well.11

But you still might find some longer-running young adult programs to still use the term “youth” to refer to any ministry for people 35 and younger.

The Adventist Church uses the young adult ministry program to:

  • Encourage young adults to strengthen their relationship with Christ as they establish their independence
  • Empower them to be leaders or difference-makers among their peers (and the church as a whole)

This ministry has involved youth leadership training from the very beginning. The Bible reaffirms that the youth shouldn’t be underestimated (1 Timothy 4:12).

In fact, many of Adventism’s early founders started God’s work in their late teens and twenties.12
History has proved that when it comes to serving God, age isn’t an issue!

Benefits of young adult ministries

A group of Adventist young adults sitting around a table and having a Bible studyYoung adult ministry programs can help strengthen people’s relationships with Jesus as well as with others. It can also provide support and community during a time of life when you’re just beginning to establish your household, your career, your family, or even your identity as you consider your place in today’s world.

These ministries seek to do that by:

  • Helping develop a Christian character
  • Teaching how to witness and serve, as life presents more opportunities than when you were younger
  • Helping maintain a Christ-centered life (prioritizing responsibility to Christ over worldly responsibilities)
  • Establishing a Christian community focused on belonging, support, and encouraging one another

Because if anyone needs a tight-knit community of fellow believers, it’s young adults.

On top of solidifying their professional identity, young adults are at the stage where they start to assess the effectiveness of their upbringing, especially when it comes to their beliefs. For the first time in their lives, they may be left to make significant life decisions on their own. And one of the most critical decisions is deciding whether to join a church or not.

They’re trying to ask themselves why they believe what they do—or why they attend church. Those born into the church often begin with what’s referred to as “adolescent faith.”13 They are used to accepting the teachings of their parents and authority figures without much question.

But there comes a time when young adults must choose to do those things because they have internalized their beliefs—not because they’re being told to.

And as young adults start to evaluate their beliefs, they look for a support system. They’re looking for people to gently guide them to the truth. They’re looking for peers to connect to.

But sometimes, well-intentioned churches get caught up in preaching doctrine while neglecting fellowship and friendship.

Questioning one’s long-held beliefs can be a frightening experience. So young adult ministry aims to provide a welcoming environment where young people can navigate life’s questions with Bible principles. Their mission is to provide young adults with authenticity, belonging, compassion, and discipleship.14

How to get involved in local groups

If you’re a young adult and looking for something that could be helpful for you at this stage of life, you can first start by looking up the nearest Seventh-day Adventist Church. Their website or social media page is likely to have information about their different Bible study groups and ministries.

What are young adult ministries?

A young adult standing in front of a cross and showing his commitment to follow Jesus ChristAs of recently, young adult ministries focus on the age group and stage of life that begins in the later years of college, or as a young person is becoming independent. This usually ends up covering the ages of 21-30.2

The official mission of young adult ministry in the Adventist Church is:

“The engagement and salvation of young adults through Jesus Christ. We understand this ministry to be that work of the church that is conducted for, with, and by young people.”3

Although there are official resources and programming from the General Conference,4 or the World Headquarters of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, most young adult ministry options are organized and operated on the local level, because the size and needs of this age group can vary so much depending on location and community type.

For example, the North American Division (NAD) has a ministry called the Adventist Christian Fellowship.5 Their goal is for Adventist college students to witness at public colleges.

And at individual church locations, you might find:

  • Young adult Sabbath school groups
  • Young adult Bible study groups
  • Interest-based activity groups (biking, hiking, board games, book clubs, etc.)
  • Hobby-based activities (drawing, knitting, or cooking)
  • Community service projects (food donations, distributing Christian literature, homeless feeding, Habitat for Humanity, etc.)
  • Stage-of-life activities or events (parenting groups or classes, marriage encounter events, financial planning seminars, etc.)
  • Mission trips (like this mission cruise!)

Overall, these programs help young people grow spiritually as they befriend and serve others.

How young adult ministry started in the Adventist Church

The first young adult ministry was created in 1879, when two teenagers formed the Adventist Youth Society.6 Henry Fenner and Luther Warren saw the need for a community of believers to uplift and guide each other to Christ.7 This group ministered to both Adventists and non-Adventists—joining them together in Bible study, worship, and fun activities.8

In 1907, the Adventist Church formally created a ministry called, “Young People’s Society of Missionary Volunteers.”9 But by 1979, this name was shortened to “Adventist Youth.”10

Today, however, the phrase “Adventist Youth” refers to ministries for high school-aged kids. Whereas the ministry for 20-35-year-olds is now called Young Adults, or YA—a category that is relatively new not just in the church realm, but in society as well.11

But you still might find some longer-running young adult programs to still use the term “youth” to refer to any ministry for people 35 and younger.

The Adventist Church uses the young adult ministry program to:

  • Encourage young adults to strengthen their relationship with Christ as they establish their independence
  • Empower them to be leaders or difference-makers among their peers (and the church as a whole)

This ministry has involved youth leadership training from the very beginning. The Bible reaffirms that the youth shouldn’t be underestimated (1 Timothy 4:12).

In fact, many of Adventism’s early founders started God’s work in their late teens and twenties.12
History has proved that when it comes to serving God, age isn’t an issue!

Benefits of young adult ministries

A group of Adventist young adults sitting around a table and having a Bible studyYoung adult ministry programs can help strengthen people’s relationships with Jesus as well as with others. It can also provide support and community during a time of life when you’re just beginning to establish your household, your career, your family, or even your identity as you consider your place in today’s world.

These ministries seek to do that by:

  • Helping develop a Christian character
  • Teaching how to witness and serve, as life presents more opportunities than when you were younger
  • Helping maintain a Christ-centered life (prioritizing responsibility to Christ over worldly responsibilities)
  • Establishing a Christian community focused on belonging, support, and encouraging one another

Because if anyone needs a tight-knit community of fellow believers, it’s young adults.

On top of solidifying their professional identity, young adults are at the stage where they start to assess the effectiveness of their upbringing, especially when it comes to their beliefs. For the first time in their lives, they may be left to make significant life decisions on their own. And one of the most critical decisions is deciding whether to join a church or not.

They’re trying to ask themselves why they believe what they do—or why they attend church. Those born into the church often begin with what’s referred to as “adolescent faith.”13 They are used to accepting the teachings of their parents and authority figures without much question.

But there comes a time when young adults must choose to do those things because they have internalized their beliefs—not because they’re being told to.

And as young adults start to evaluate their beliefs, they look for a support system. They’re looking for people to gently guide them to the truth. They’re looking for peers to connect to.

But sometimes, well-intentioned churches get caught up in preaching doctrine while neglecting fellowship and friendship.

Questioning one’s long-held beliefs can be a frightening experience. So young adult ministry aims to provide a welcoming environment where young people can navigate life’s questions with Bible principles. Their mission is to provide young adults with authenticity, belonging, compassion, and discipleship.14

How to get involved in local groups

If you’re a young adult and looking for something that could be helpful for you at this stage of life, you can first start by looking up the nearest Seventh-day Adventist Church. Their website or social media page is likely to have information about their different Bible study groups and ministries.

If nothing else, joining a group can give you the chance to meet other people interested in serving God and making the most of their lives. It’ll give you a chance to connect with people who face the same challenges as you. (Not to mention it can also be a great place for fun activities and good food…)

And if you’re the kind of person that has a passion for serving young people, you could get involved, too! Get started by deciding what your passion for service or ministry is. You can serve multiple ministries, of course, but it helps to narrow it down. And it’ll help your search be more specific.

But the most important thing you can do is get started. Make the first step, and pray that God will help you take it from there. He can lead you to a group or a ministry that best fits your needs and aspirations.

Find more information and resources about young adult ministies and progamming:

North American Division
Inter-American Division
South American Division
East-Central Africa Division
West-Central African Division
Southern African-Indian Division
Inter-European Division
Trans-European Division
Northern Asia-Pacific Division
South Pacific Division
– A quick-start guide for young adult ministry initiatives
Adventist Young Professionals network

Related Articles 

Questions about Adventists? Ask here!

Find answers to your questions about Seventh-day Adventists

More Answers

Do I Need to be an Adventist to be Saved?

Do I Need to be an Adventist to be Saved?

Do I Need to be an Adventist to be Saved? The answer to this question is simply, “no.” When it comes to salvation in Jesus Christ, all that is required of a person is to acknowledge Jesus’ sacrifice for us, believe that He has saved us, and claim the free gift of...

Do You Have to Be Vegetarian to Be Adventist?

Do You Have to Be Vegetarian to Be Adventist?

Do You Have to be Vegetarian to be Adventist?Of course not. Membership in the Seventh-day Adventist Church has never included any dietary requirements. However, there might be some reasons people might think that. So many Adventists are vegetarians or even vegan, and...

All About Seventh-day Adventist Colporteurs

All About Seventh-day Adventist Colporteurs

 All About Seventh-day Adventist ColporteursThe Seventh-day Adventist Church uses a variety of methods to spread the hope of the gospel to the world. One of these ways is through colporteuring, also called “canvassing” or “literature evangelism.” As you can probably...

What Is an Adventist Book Center (ABC)?

What Is an Adventist Book Center (ABC)?

What is an Adventist Book Center (ABC)? When you walk into any one of the many Adventist Book Center (ABC) locations, chances are you’ll be greeted by pleasant gospel music in the background, friendly employees, and row after row of Christian books, movies, Bibles,...

Do Seventh-day Adventists Celebrate Holidays?

Do Seventh-day Adventists Celebrate Holidays?

Do Seventh-day Adventists Celebrate Holidays? Wondering whether your Adventist classmate or coworker keeps the same holidays you do? Perhaps you want to include them in some festivities, but you also want to respect their beliefs. Thus, you’re unsure of how to...

The Adventist Haystack (It’s Not What You Think) + 4 Recipes

The Adventist Haystack (It’s Not What You Think) + 4 Recipes

The Adventist Haystack (It’s Not What You Think) + 4 Recipes If you’ve ever heard Seventh-day Adventists mention “haystacks,” they’re probably not talking about literal stacks of hay.Haystacks are basically a taco salad—with an Adventist spin on it! Most versions are...

Do Seventh-day Adventists Believe in Medical Care?

Do Seventh-day Adventists Believe in Medical Care?

Do Seventh-day Adventists Believe in Medical Care? Adventists talk a lot about health principles and disease prevention. But how do we handle sickness and medical needs when they inevitably come along? The Seventh-day Adventist Church believes in and supports...

Why do Adventists Emphasize Religious Liberty?

Why do Adventists Emphasize Religious Liberty?

 Why do Adventists Emphasize Religious Liberty?Adventists see religious liberty as an essential human right. After all, God endowed humanity with freedom of choice from the very beginning. So we believe it’s best for governments to also support their citizens’ rights...

All about Adventist Elementary Schools

All about Adventist Elementary Schools

All about Adventist Elementary SchoolsThe Seventh-day Adventist Church operates the largest Protestant education system in the world. A big part of this system is our K-8 elementary schools, or primary schools, as they’re known in other parts of the world. Here you...

What Are Pathfinder and Adventurer Clubs?

What Are Pathfinder and Adventurer Clubs?

What are Pathfinder / Adventurer Clubs?Like the boy or girl scouts, Pathfinders and Adventurers learn about nature and life skills. But what makes these clubs special is their purpose to bring young people closer to Jesus. If you’ve wondered about Pathfinder or...

13th Sabbath Offering: What It Is and Why It Matters

13th Sabbath Offering: What It Is and Why It Matters

13th Sabbath Offering: What It Is and Why It MattersThe Seventh-day Adventist Church has emphasized service and mission work from its earliest days. That’s why there’s a collective “offering calendar” most Adventist congregations follow to support these efforts. Each...

A Look at Adventist Colleges and Universities

A Look at Adventist Colleges and Universities

A Look at Adventist Colleges and Universities On the outside, Seventh-day Adventist universities may not look much different than other college campuses. But the real differences are beneath the surface. Adventist Universities are all about helping each student have a...

What Is ASI (Adventist-Laymen’s Services and Industries)?

What Is ASI (Adventist-Laymen’s Services and Industries)?

What is ASI? (Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries) ASI, which stands for Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries, is a membership-based organization that provides support for Seventh-day Adventist laypeople (Adventist professionals who aren’t pastors). The...

What Are Adventist Evangelistic Meetings?

What Are Adventist Evangelistic Meetings?

What are Adventist Evangelistic Meetings? The Seventh-day Adventist Church puts a huge emphasis on sharing the gospel through evangelism, or sharing the gospel through preaching, teaching, and testimony. One of the ways we accomplish this is by organizing public...

Christian Summer Camps—A Cherished Adventist Ministry

Christian Summer Camps—A Cherished Adventist Ministry

Christian Summer Camps—A Cherished Adventist Ministry School’s out, the sun’s shining, and your kids are thrilled to have the summer ahead of them. Then three days in, you hear, “I’m bored…” What’s something kids can do that’s fun and active, but also wholesome and...

Do Adventists Have Their Own Bible?

Do Adventists Have Their Own Bible?

Do Adventists Have Their Own Bible? Adventists have some unique beliefs—you might be able to name some of them right now. The seventh-day Sabbath. Death as a sleep. Hell as nonexistence. Where do they get these teachings from? Do they use their own version of the...

What Is Vespers?

What Is Vespers?

What is Vespers? Friday rolls around, and you’re spending time with your Adventist friends or relatives when they mention they’re going to vespers tonight. They said the word so nonchalantly. Maybe that made you feel like you should know what it means. Maybe that’s...

Adventist Pastors

Adventist Pastors

Church Leaders: What is the Role of an Adventist Pastor? What is the role of a pastor in the Adventist Church? The position itself, at least as far as a local congregation is concerned, is not much different from that of pastors in other protestant denominations. An...

Structure of the Adventist Church

Structure of the Adventist Church

The Leadership Structure of the Adventist Church The Seventh-day Adventist Church has a representative form of structure that connects its 90,000-plus congregations across the globe and gives its members a part in decision-making. Though the Church was incorporated in...

Everything You Need to Know About Sabbath Meals

Everything You Need to Know About Sabbath Meals

Everything You Need to Know About Sabbath Meals For Seventh-day Adventists, sharing a Sabbath meal with friends and family is one of the most special and memorable parts of the Sabbath. That’s why we want to share with you all about Sabbath meals and why they’re such...

What to Expect When You Go to an Adventist Church

What to Expect When You Go to an Adventist Church

What to Expect When You Go to an Adventist Church If you’re attending an Adventist church for the first time, you may wonder what it’s really like. While each Adventist church is unique in its collective personality and local culture, Adventist church services are...

Adventist Education

Adventist Education

What is the Adventist Education System?   Seventh-day Adventists have historically upheld the importance of a well-rounded, high-quality education. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching and learning, the Adventist Education system operates on the...

Evangelism

Evangelism

All About Adventist Evangelism Evangelism is simply sharing the truths of the Bible with someone else. And Adventists are all into it.This post will show you why Adventists take evangelism so seriously. It also covers the role that evangelism played in the formation...

Everything You Need to Know About an Adventist Church Potluck

Adventist Potlucks: Where Food and Friendship Meet One of the best parts about getting together with a church family on Sabbath is the fellowship we can experience. The word “fellowship” may not be used very often in everyday conversation, but it has special meaning...

The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal

The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal

The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal  The Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal is a songbook used worldwide by many Adventist congregations during their worship services. Since its publication in 1985, it has helped foster praise to God while reminding church members of our...

Everything You Need to Know about Sabbath School

Everything You Need to Know about Sabbath School

Everything You Need to Know About Sabbath School Sabbath School is the Bible study component of the church program at most Seventh-day Adventist Churches. It’s a time of Bible study on a specific topic or lesson. Instead of listening to a preacher, people interact...

Sermons

Sermons

What Are Adventist Sermons Like? In nearly every Seventh-day Adventist Church, the sermon is the focal point of the main service—similar to many Protestant Christian denominations. It is a time of biblical instruction by the pastor, who shares what they’ve been...

Who Are Adventists

Who Are Adventists

Who are Adventists? The Seventh-day Adventist Church—“Adventists” for short—is a Christian denomination of ordinary people who seek to follow Jesus and live out His mission in this world. Established in 1863, we hold to the Protestant principle of sola scriptura,...

How do Adventists choose what to eat?

How do Adventists choose what to eat?

How Do Adventists Choose What to Eat? Every day, parents go through the ritual of getting their kids to eat what is healthy and good while trying to steer them away from what can hinder the growth of their developing bodies. Nutritionists work with their clients to...

Didn’t find your answer? Ask us!

We understand your concern of having questions but not knowing who to ask—we’ve felt it ourselves. When you’re ready to learn more about Adventists, send us a question! We know a thing or two about Adventists.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This