WEB EXCLUSIVE: What do young adults expect from pastors?by Anna Groff
What do young adults expect from their pastors? For some it's a personal relationship, support and advice, or share meals.
Angela Hostetler, Waterford Mennonite Church, Goshen, Ind., says young adults understand that a pastor can give a kind of guidance that is absent from other forms of care, such health care and counseling.
"As we leave our homes," she says, "pastoral care often fills in the gaps left between the support parents can provide and what young adults think they should be able to handle on their own."
Expectations come as a result of our life stages, says Jon Heinly, youth minister for Lancaster (Pa.) Mennonite Conference and at Lancaster Mennonite School.
"Younger adults would tend to value discipleship, mentoring and counseling during college, career and marriage transitions," he says.
Jason Moyer, First Mennonite Church, Iowa City, says pastors offer a unique voice he does not find elsewhere.
"My parents always answer the question: 'what is the best decision for my child?'" he says.
"My friends answer the question: 'what is the best thing for Jason?' But my pastors always answer the question: 'What is best for the kingdom of God?'"
Janie Beck, a student at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Ind., sees a major element of pastoral care as a counseling role.
"An ideal situation with a pastor would be someone I feel I can go to for advice on spiritual or moral questions," she says, "or even processing more serious life decisions."
But this personal relationship is not absolutely necessary for Beck.
"If that kind of relationship didn't arise naturally or our personalities clashed or whatever," she says, "I would rather seek those kinds of 'mentor' or 'counselor' figures from other people in my life, and it wouldn't be a big deal."
Paul Yoder, member at Mount Clinton (Va.) Mennonite Church, experiences this "mentoring" element of pastoral care as the nurture that comes from hearing personal faith journey reflections from his pastor and other mentoring adults in his congregation.
Hostetler also appreciates when pastors speak about their own lives. She says the pastors she loves and respect the most are ones have "honestly shown me their own struggles and uncertainties, meeting me where I am and bringing God there, no matter how low."
Pastoral care is "not judgmental; it's not about righteousness," she says.
Lauren Hall, Pittsburgh Mennonite Church, says her work as a nurse exposes her to the comfort that pastoral care provides.
"I believe if I were to be in such a situation I would be grateful of such care," she says. "I was in the hospital once and the most meaningful thing to me was how my church congregation responded and cared for me. I received cards and teddy bears. My youth group at the time drove three hours to visit me."
Moyer's wife lost her mother in a car accident and through that he realized "the importance of relying on community in time of need." He says the meals that people prepared for her were valuable during that stage of grief.
Hostetler says she would expect her pastor to offer personal recognition of a struggle such as illness or grief. That could mean a phone call, visit or email.
"I would want to be able to confide in my pastor about my illness or loss," she says, "and that might mean that my pastor has to prod a little … Sometimes it's a pastor's job to name your pain for you when naming it yourself is too hard."
"I think there is something about a hospital stay or a death in the family that makes us grasp for tradition," says Yoder. "In other situations, I might say that older adults may expect a visit or phone call whereas young adults would lean toward less formal, electronic-based communication. But an e-mail or Facebook just doesn’t work for sending condolences, at least not for a pastor."
- Out of the rocking chair
- How I greet the day
- The spiritual needs of the elderly
- WEB EXCLUSIVE: What do young adults expect from pastors?
- Resurrection for the second half of life
- Help the widowed
News stories, digests and Meno Acontecer
- Southeast Conference removes ministerial credential
- Health reform matters
- The Mennonite to become a 64-page monthly magazine in 2010
- Intermenno 'trainee' program to end August 2010
- Mennonite Medical Association and Mennonite Nurses Association merge
- Students, teachers from Ethiopia reunite
- EB makes plans to address conflict
- NEWS DIGESTS
- In Mongolia, Mennonite equals ministry
- MCC promotes sustainable farming
- New Mennonite Artist Project proclaims, 'Art is a Mennonite thing'
- Clothing designer describes tensions of learning 'new language' and remembering 'mother tongue'
- ¡Saludos en Cristo! - Octubre 5, 2009
- Cruce de Caminos ...
- ¡IBA celebró sus 21 años de servicio!
- ¿Sabía usted que ..
- SeBAH llama a concurso de diseño para su logo
- Conferencia Femenil de la Iglesia Menonita Hispana.
- Nuevo libro de Tony Brun
- Mujeres teólogas celebran festival "espiritual"
- De nuestros lectores y colaboradores ... "LAS EMOCIONES"
- Blessed to be a pastor
- Publishing in tough times
- The dangers of dialogue
- 'Vengeance is mine' ...or is it?
- Film and book reviews for September
- Why suggest a unilateral approach?
- Jesus would wonder why it took so long
- PinkMenno folks are us
- Saddened by response to PinkMenno
- If we have love for one another
- Draw a circle that includes all
- A failing denominational strategy
- Don't overlook what we know is wrong
- Disappointed by Bethel College board