CNLP 249: Kara Powell and Steve Argue on Emerging Adulthood and Helping Teens, Young Adults, Parents and Leaders Thrive as Everything Changes

Every parent and every teen and young adult knows things are changing. So does every leader. But the real question is: How are things changing and what does it mean?

Kara Powell and Steve Argue dive into their latest research and explain how a twenty year gap has emerged between when kids grow up too fast as young teens, but don’t fully emerge as adults until 30, and what that means for kids, parents, emerging adults and leaders.

Welcome to Episode 249 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Guest Links

 Growing With | Fuller Youth Institute

Kara on Instagram | Kara on Facebook | Kara on Twitter

Steve on Instagram | Steve on Facebook | Steve on Twitter

Read a chapter of Growing With FREE and take the Growing With Parenting Quiz here!

Episode Links

The Unstuck Group has helped thousands of churches get unstuck. Take their FREE Unstuck Church Assessment at to find out which of the 7 lifecycle stages describes your church so you can get unstuck and reach more people.

Rethink Leadership is a premier leadership event designed by senior leaders exclusively for lead, executive and campus pastors. Join me in Atlanta on May 1-3 for content, conversations and community unlike any other leadership event in the country. You’ll go home with more than ideas. You’ll go home with a fresh network working together to solve the biggest challenges facing your church and the Church. Register by March 21st to receive $20 off regular pricing.

CNLP 158: Kara Powell on How to Tell if Your Church is Positioned to Draw Millennials and Her Personal Habits and Rhythms as a Leader and Mom

CNLP 106: Kara Powell on How Many Average Churches are Actually Reaching Millennials 

CNLP 004: Why Young Adults are Walking away from the Church and What You Can Do about It – An Interview with Kara Powell

Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church by Kara Powell, Jake Mulder, & Brad Griffin

3 Insights from Kara & Steve

1. Young people are driven by identity, belonging and purpose (aren’t we all?)

Young people are driven by three quests: Identity, Belonging and Purpose.

Identity – Who am I?

Belonging – Where do I fit?

Purpose – What difference do I make?

If we’re honest, aren’t these the same things that drive adults for a lifetime?  Here’s the difference – for most young people those questions are a rolling boil. For people 30+, those questions are often more simmering. But it’s important to remember that a generational gap doesn’t really divide the desires of our human hearts. We’re all asking the same questions and we’re all on the same quest.

2. Empathy is the key to connecting the age gap

A quick way to shut down dialogue with your growing child is using that old phrase, “when I was your age”. It’s funny that when we were kids we hated hearing that from our parents, but quickly found use for it when the tables turned.

As adults, we see those words as bridge-builders, but to young people that phrase creates an instant barrier. Just because we were young once, doesn’t mean we really have a grasp on what young people are going through today. Things have changed.

That doesn’t mean we can’t talk to each other or relate to each other. Mature adults just  need to recognize the differences before attempting to relate to a younger generation. Approaching conversations with empathy is the way to go. Asking questions like, “What’s this like for you?” or “How are you wrestling with that?” is key to connecting and relating to each other.

3. Each stage of emerging adults needs different support from parents

Most people categorize the younger generation into two groups: teenagers and young, emerging adults, but Kara and Steve think that should go a little deeper. Instead of two stages, their new book Growing With suggests three:

The Learner Stage: Typically ages 13-18 when a young person is experiencing rapid physical, emotional, relational, intellectual, and spiritual growth that brings all sorts of new questions, interests and friendships.

The Explorer Stage: Roughly ages 18-23 when a young person is often venturing away from home for the first time or away from home-oriented routines. New goals, relationships and beliefs are being pursued. Explorers are excited about the future, but unsure about themselves.

The Focuser Stage: Ages 23-28 is usually the chapter in life when a young person starts gaining a clearer sense of who they are. Educational, vocational, relational, and spiritual choices have been made that opened up new opportunities and closed others.

Each stage requires a different style of parenting, and a different type of response from the church. Here are the three styles of support:

The Teacher: The Learner Stage needs a teacher who is hands-on, helps the teenager be self-motivated, trains them in the right practices, and disciplines to help them succeed.

The Guide: The Explorer Stage needs a guide to give the new young adults more room than they previously had as a Learner. A great guide knows when to allow people to explore and when to give more direction.

The Resourcer: The Focuser Stage needs someone who will listen from the young adult’s perspective and offer resources (not necessarily financial) and advice when asked.

Want to learn more? Take the Growing With Parent Quiz to find out which stage your child is so you can offer the support they need. You can also dive into a free chapter of Growing With while you’re there.

Quotes from Episode 249

As parents, we often direct our attention toward our kids, trying to think about what they need and how we can help them, and we don't critically reflect on what's going on inside of us. @stevenargue Click To Tweet Young people have access to a lot of information, but what I think they really need access to is wisdom. @stevenargue Click To Tweet You can't journey with someone if you're judging them. @kpowellfyi Click To Tweet Sometimes we as parents think to only change the things that we've done wrong, but we actually have to change the things that we do right. @stevenargue Click To Tweet The church is a perfect lab for young people to experiment with their vocational calling. @kpowellfyi Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 249

Looking for a key quote? More of a reader?

Read or download a free PDF transcript of this episode here.

Didn’t See It Coming Will Help You Solve the Problems Most Leaders Miss

If you want practical help overcoming some of the biggest challenges leaders face, my new book Didn’t See It Coming: Overcoming the 7 Greatest Challenges That Nobody Expects and Everyone Experiences tackles the seven core issues that take people out: cynicism, compromise, disconnectedness, irrelevance, pride, burnout, and the emptiness of success and provides strategies on how to combat each.

I wrote the book because no 18 year old sets out to be cynical, jaded and disconnected by age 35. Yet it happens all the time.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Here’s what top leaders are saying about Didn’t See It Coming:

“Seriously, this may be the most important book you read this year.” Jud Wilhite, Lead Pastor, Central Church

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“Whatever challenge you’re facing, whatever obstacle you’re hoping to overcome, whatever future you dream or imagine, there is something powerful for you here.” Andy Stanley, Founder, North Point Ministries

“Uncommonly perceptive and generous…You have to read this book.” Ann Voskamp, NYT bestselling author

“Masterful.” Reggie Joiner, CEO Orange

“Deep biblical insight, straightforward truth, and practical wisdom to help you grow.” Craig Groeschel, Pastor and NYT bestselling author

“This book is sure to help you.” Daniel H. Pink, NYT bestselling author

Over the years, one of the things I’ve enjoyed most about being a public speaker is having opportunities to hang out with Carey…It’s not a matter of if you’ll run into these challenges; it’s a matter of when. Be prepared by spending a little time with a leader who has already been there.” Jon Acuff, NYT best-selling author

“Nieuwhof’s book provides expert guidance…with an accuracy that pierces the heart.” Nancy Duarte, CEO Duarte Inc.

“A refreshingly transparent guide for all leaders in a wide variety of industries.” Bryan Miles, Co-Founder and CEO, BELAY

You can learn more and get your copy of Didn’t See It Coming here.

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Next Episode: Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman’s Five Love Languages has sold more than 12 million copies and every year it sells more copies than the year before. Gary talks about why the book has resonated as deeply as it has and how using the Five Love Languages at work can greatly improve employee satisfaction. We also drill down into how the love languages can impact your marriage and your parenting.

Subscribe for free now and you won’t miss Episode 250.

CNLP 249: Kara Powell and Steve Argue on Emerging Adulthood and Helping Teens, Young Adults, Parents and Leaders Thrive as Everything Changes

1 Comment

  1. message in a bottle trailer on May 13, 2019 at 11:39 am

    Found on Wedge Island in Western Australia on Jan.

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