Loma Linda’s Young Adult Ministry Hosts North American Division Initiative

Young Adult LIFE Tour seeks to build youth ministries across the region.

Young Adult LIFE, and Filip Milosavljevic, North American Division News
Loma Linda’s Young Adult Ministry Hosts North American Division Initiative
From left to right, leaders Jonathan Park, Filip Milosavljevic, and Aren Rennacker enjoy Voices of the Young Friday service as part of the North American Division’s Young Adult LIFE Tour. [Photo: PraxisMinistry]

The North American Division (NAD) wants to celebrate the incredible impact Adventist young adults are making across the division, and the communities and churches that are flourishing because of their involvement. The division continues to prioritize young adults as evidenced by the Young Adult LIFE Tour that recently made its way to Loma Linda, California, United States. The tour showcased Praxis, the young adult ministry of the Loma Linda University Church (LLUC), during the June 23-24 weekend.

“It was energizing and inspiring,” Tracy Wood, NAD youth and young adult ministries director, said. “Young adults shared their personal testimonies of pain and purpose, and why they are involved in church.”

Friday evening featured the young-adult voices of Kelsey Rochelle, Kelly Lin Dickinson, and Derek Glatts, with Aren Rennacker, Southeastern California Conference (SECC) youth and young adult ministries director, offering a culminating homily.

“This was an incredible evening that showed the impact of what happens when we prioritize young adult ministry in the Adventist Church,” Rennacker said. “The vulnerability that came forward through the messages … created an atmosphere of honesty that young adults have been craving.”

The evening continued with a rooftop “afterglow” on the LLUC campus. The next morning the tour featured an array of worship services, a young adult panel, and an afternoon beach excursion to close the Sabbath.

“I was moved by the worship experience,” SECC president Jonathan Park said. “It was very interactive, sharing powerful convictions on Adventism. I was deeply convinced that young adults in our churches are willing to invest their lives in relevant Adventism.”

For many young adults living in Southern California, such as Phoebe Mehany, Praxis ministry “represents home.”

“The love this community consistently portrays cultivated the leader that I am now,” Mehany, who serves as Praxis’s prayer leader, said. “The whole environment is what I call ‘good soil’ for growth in grace and truth.”

The Young Adult LIFE Tour offered many of the gatherings live online. The online Sabbath School program showcased Praxis young adults Kelly Lin Dickinson, Laia Amaya, and Karl Lindsay addressing the experience of growing up in today’s modern world and how faith impacts this. These young adults discussed the latest research on young adulthood in Adventism and the Bible passage in 1 Timothy 4:12-16, about elevating how young people should be viewed and the enormous responsibility of young people. 

Multiple services were broadcast Saturday (Sabbath) morning, giving emphasis to emerging adulthood. The tour sermons featured LLUC young adult pastor Filip Milosavljevic, who recently completed his doctorate at Fuller Theological Seminary on “Growing Young Adventists,” focusing on thriving with Adventist young adults.

Young adults at Praxis gather for afterglow following each Friday evening service to hang out, eat together, and connect. [Photo: PraxisMinistry]

“Pastor Filip presented the latest research-based evidence of the complexities of the lives of young adults, and what a vibrant intergenerational Adventist church can do to support and empower them,” Wood said. “I highly recommend that the recordings of the tour be reviewed for an ongoing conversation of Young Adult LIFE and local church ministry, to bring understanding and hope for all.”

“Young adults are not youth, and ministry to them must take a different approach if Adventism is to stem the tide of loss,” Milosavljevic said. “We must do ministry differently if we are to engage and empower this generation of young adults.”

Milosavljevic pointed to research indicating that up to 70 percent of young adults will disengage from their Adventist community, though they may still believe in God and retain much of what they believed as children. He encouraged the Adventist Church to seek out new ways to support young adults who are on a different timeline, reaching marriage, education, parenting, and careers almost 10 years later than generations past.

“The church needs to prioritize this age group so that all generations can flourish,” he said.

The Young Adult LIFE Tour highlighted just that: the vital role of young adults in the whole church — all generations — praying, worshiping, growing together. The tour hosts, LLUC and Praxis Ministry, exhibit the value of good soil that helps all generations grow. 

“[During this tour stop] the Holy Spirit was and is present with us as we prayed for each other and as we opened up topics in an authentic way for the purpose of true healing,” Mehany said. “The deep connections we build at Praxis and the love of Jesus we portray to the surrounding community is the fruit of that good soil.”

About the Young Adult LIFE Tour

The Young Adult LIFE Tour intends to bring insights and relevant, doable steps toward building young adult ministry now. The tour affords an introduction to Young Adult LIFE, the NAD’s young adult discipleship framework giving focus in the following areas: Leadership Impact, Intergenerational Relationships, Faith Development, and Everyday Compassion.

Future Young Adult LIFE Tour stops include Southern Union Conference, October 20-21, at Spring Meadows church in Florida, as well as weekends in Mid-America Union Conference, North Pacific Union Conference, and the Adventist Church in Canada in 2024.

The original version of this story was posted on the North American Division news site.

Young Adult LIFE, and Filip Milosavljevic, North American Division News