Imagine an adolescent girl walking into the youth group room and finding a disposable cup and a large supply of art materials. She feels her stomach tighten into a knot. "Oh, no!" she thinks. "Another of those cutesy art activities. All I really want is a safe place to talk about God and ask these questions that I'm wrestling with." The leader gives the directions for the activity, which are to think of the cup as the church and to let your feelings guide how you respond to the symbol before you. The girl flattens the cup with her hand, and then walks out of the church.
This age of adolescence and young adulthood is often a time of strong emotions, testing of boundaries, questioning of authorities, but also a time with potential for amazing spiritual growth. In this study we will explore a number of the characteristics inherent in youth and emerging adulthood. We will consider those ages 13 to 30. This helps to focus our discussion of the spiritual lives of adolescents and young adults to this core age group and the typical understandings, behaviors, and experiences that guide faith within these ages. The eight statements introduced are a consolidation of research with this age group. In each case we will look at the meaning behind the characteristic and then offer a way of nurturing this aspect of faith.