Mentoring Communities

Brad M. Griffin | Nov 5, 2010

As Kara is at Princeton today sharing at the Conference on Emerging Adulthood, I thought it might be fitting to spur some dialogue about the importance of mentoring communities in the lives of emerging adults. In conversations with my friend Steve Argue, he often refers to Sharon Daloz Parks work Big Questions, Worthy Dreams: Mentoring Young Adults in Their Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Faith. So I finally read it a couple of weeks ago.

Its a good read for anyone working with emerging adults, and suggests implications for how the churchamong otherscan respond to their need to explore big questions and worthy dreams. In particular, Parks highlights the importance of mentoring communities for emerging adult identity and faith. Heres an excerpt of her explanation:

A mentoring community offers hospitality to the potential of the emerging self, and it offers access to worthy dreams of self and worldIt offers a network of belonging in which young adults feel recognized as who they really are, and as who they are becoming. It offers both challenge and support and thus offers good company for both the emerging strength and the distinctive vulnerability of the young adult. ((Sharon Daloz Parks, Big Questions, Worthy Dreams: Mentoring Young Adults in Their Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Faith (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000) 93, 95))

Good company. Thats a good descriptor of whats missing from many of our students lives post-high-school. Churches, campus ministry groups, families, and groups of close friends all have the potential to offer good companionship to emerging adults, but many fail to capture that opportunity. What are some ideas and best practices youve seen for offering good company? How do you foster mentoring communities in the lives of youth and young adults?

Brad M. Griffin

Brad M. Griffin is the Senior Director of Content for the Fuller Youth Institute (FYI), where he develops research-based training for youth workers and parents. A speaker, blogger, and volunteer youth pastor, Brad is the coauthor of Faith in an Anxious World, Growing Young, several Sticky Faith books, Every Parent’s Guide to Navigating Our Digital World, and the series Can I Ask That?: 8 Hard Questions about God and Faith. Brad and his family live in Southern California.


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