My Review of David Setran and Chris Kiesling’s Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood


“Proposing an approach that seeks inner transformation, costly discipleship, and embodied disciplines that facilitate communion with God, we hope to cast a vision for emerging adult formation that describes the contours of the “with God” life at the cusp of adulthood.”

As a minister who began my ministerial work at age 23 one year out of college and have spent most of my adult life in parish ministry, I was glad to be able to read a galley copy of this book as the issue of declining young adult attendance and participation in churches has been the subjects of numerous books, seminars, and articles over the past several years and because it is an issue and a concern in the small town congregation I serve as well.

David Setran, a professor of Spiritual Formation at Wheaton University and Chris Kiesling, a professor of Human Development and Christian Discipleship at Asbury Seminary have written a very insightful, wide ranging and helpful book on the contours of what is now called “emerging adulthood.”

Published by Baker Academic books, Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood; A Practical Theology for College and Young Adult Ministry, is a book that needs to be read alongside both faith based and non faith based books on the issues facing adults as they navigate their late teens through their late twenties.

Using current research as well as being helpfully ground in scripture and theology, Setran and Kiesling take the reader on a journey through the challenging cross currents and hopeful beach heads of emerging adulthood by addressing nine key factors they believe need to be addressed in helping emerging young adults with faith development: faith, spiritual formation, identity, church, vocation, morality, sexuality, relationships, and mentoring. These nine factors are addressed in individual chapters.

As they do so, they move beyond a mere programmatic mode and offer a detailed, honest, and helpful set of ideas to help ministry leaders gain clarity about the challenges and opportunities to help young adults gain a solid foothold on the faith dimension of their lives. A set of “quick fixes” are not offered by the authors. Rather the important aspect of mentoring and aiding young adults in their faith journey is prescribed.

I was given both new hope, new information, and new inspiration as I read this book. As a result I rate this book a ‘great’ read.

Note: I received a galley copy of this book from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for a review. I was not required to write a positive review.


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