Devotions by Young Adults for Young Adults
Young People’s Ministries has collected a number of devotions by Young Adult authors. Use them in your Young Adult ministry, to discuss with friends, or for your own personal study. You’ll find views and thoughts from people around the world that can help you grow your faith.
If you are interested in helping young adults grow in their faith by writing about your experiences, we are always accepting applications for new contributors. Email John for more information.
Current Contributor: Holli Long
Holli is a young adult United Methodist and an active member of Plainfield United Methodist Church in the Chicago Suburbs. She is a semi-recent graduate of the University of Michigan (2003) with a B.A. in English and is a former high school teacher.
Currently, Holli is a stay-at-home mom to twin toddlers by day and a Chicago Theological Seminary student by night. (And she is beyond grateful for her husband who takes on the role of “twin wrangler” and “super dad” as she attends class, studies, and finds the occasional time to write.) A contributor to such blogs as Reconciling Ministries Network, Believe Out Loud, Ministry with the Poor, Church World Service, BlogHer and Moms Encouraging Moms, Holli is passionate about writing and advocating for ministries involved with social justice. You can also find her on Twitter and on her personal blog, Joy is the Grace.
A life-long United Methodist and preacher’s kid, Sarah has been active on local, conference, jurisdictional, and global levels of the church. She’s seen the best (and the worst) that the church has to offer, and is always open to open to discussing her faith with believers and non-believers. She believes in living a life that glorifies God and helps others become disciples of Jesus Christ in order to transform this confusing, hectic, and seemingly broken world.
When not writing devotionals, Sarah can be found in dusty archives doing research for the Rogers, Arkansas Historical Museum, or behind the counter at the Fayetteville, Arkansas GameStop. She spends her free time playing guitar, throwing Frisbees, hiking, canoeing, snuggling with her roommate’s dog, tweeting about video games and post grad problems on her Twitter account, and contemplating life as a young adult. Don’t worry – she’ll blog about it once she’s figured it out.”
Megan Smith, 19, is from Lancaster, PA and is currently a freshman at Eastern University. At Eastern, located in St. Davids, PA, Megan is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and a minor in Biology. In the future, she hopes to attend either graduate school or seminary to further her education. Recently, Megan served in an internship with the Rev. Hannah Adair Bonner, assisting with the ministries of the GBOD Division of Ministries with Young People in the Northeastern Jurisdiction, as well as urban outreach to young people in Wilmington, DE. Megan is a young leader who has had the opportunity to preach at the Peninsula-Delaware Youth Rally in 2011 and at the Northeastern Jurisdiction Youth Convocation in 2012. She also attended the Duke Youth Academy for Christian Formation at Duke Divinity School in 2011.
On campus, Megan is involved in the Leadership Fellows Scholarship Program and Y.A.C.H.T. (Youth Against Complacency and Homelessness Today). Some of her other passions include public speaking, writing, photography, and music. Presently, Megan is continuing to discern the call the God has placed on her life by examining the skills, talents, and gifts that have been cultivated in her throughout her spiritual journey thus far.
Emily Echols is a 2009 graduate of Candler School of Theology at Emory University. After a brief stint as a pastor in Texas she thankfully discerned that God was calling her to preach God’s word without a pulpit and left the path of ordained ministry. She has since reverted to her childhood job aspirations and is trying to write books worth reading.
She is married to Chaplain Stephen Echols, United Methodist clergy and a chaplain in the United States Army. They have one young son, Gabriel, who is into everything and the smileyest baby you’ll ever meet. They are newly stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana.
Vanessa is a 2011 graduate with a degree in children’s ministry and biblical literature.
As a Bible quizzer in high school, she developed a love for studying God’s Word, and she wants to help instill that love in other people as well. She especially loves working with the children of her church and community, and her favorite week of the year is Vacation Bible School. While serving in children’s ministry during high school, Vanessa dreamed of being a VBS director when she got older. For the past three summers, her dream has come true as she has had the opportunity to direct and design curriculum for her church’s VBS program. She enjoys helping children discover the truth of God and how much He loves them.
Vanessa loves spending time with family and discovering more about her family’s past. She likes learning, reading and writing and has written curriculum, devotions and children’s stories. She has also done proofreading work, and hopes to be a published book author someday.
Nick Chrisohon (pronounced “Chris-oh-hahn”) is the quintessential Southerner. Born and raised in Athens, Georgia, and currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee, Nick is a recent graduate of the Vanderbilt Divinity School with a Master of Divinity degree. He likes listening to blues music, growing his own herbs, drinking sweet tea, watching the Georgia Bulldogs, and eating shrimp ‘n’ grits. He was raised by his momma to be a Southern gentleman.
Sometimes, Nick concerns himself with practical theologies and their effects on personal and communal ethics. He also desires clergy and laity to care more about their physical, emotional, and nutritional wellness. He overuses ellipses and the em dash. You’ll hopefully forgive him for that.
The Reverend Dalton Troy Rushing, 29, is a provisional elder in the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church, where is appointed as the Pastor of Serve (associate) at Johns Creek United Methodist Church. His spouse, the Rev. Stacey Rushing, is also a provisional elder, and they have the unique pleasure of serving on church staff together. Dalton and Stacey are expecting their first daughter in January, and they are currently spending a considerable amount of time trying to figure out what it will mean to be the parents of a double-PK (Preachers’ Kid). Dalton blogs at daltonrushing.com.
Amy Yeary Smith
The Reverend Amy Yeary Holmes is a young ordained elder in the Holston Conference. Upon completing her Clinical Pastoral Education residency she took some time off from the pastorate to raise a family. During that time she became a performing member of the Jonesborough Storytelling guild, a contributing writer for the religion column in the Jonesborough Herald and Tribune and travels the conference preaching, teaching and storytelling. Amy is passoniate about self care and quality continuing education for those serving in the parish whether they are clergy or laity.
Jarrod Johnston is a 30-year-old resident of Duncanville, TX having been born and raised in Texas. He is very blessed to currently serve as Minister of Worship at FUMC Duncanville where he designs and leads worship in both ‘contemporary’ and ‘traditional’ contexts. He and his wife, Leanne, moved back to Texas a year ago after spending three years in ministry in Slidell, LA, at Aldersgate UMC. There he served as Minister of Music, while Leanne served as Volunteer Coordinator for the Epworth Project. Leanne currently serves as Coordinator of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Central Texas Conference.
In 2008 Jarrod graduated from the Perkins School of Theology with my Master of Sacred Music and has since found a passion to lead worship of all genres, never afraid to take a few risks. He has also found a passion in ministry with youth, trying to build up the next generation of young adults in ministry.
On January 11, 2012, Jarrod and Leanne welcomed their son Wesley into the world. Through him, God has put a new calling on his heart, not just to be a Christ-centered father, but to work hard to make sure we have a UMC for him to grow up in. When not playing with Wesley, Jarrod usually in the kitchen, reading a book, or blogging. You can find his writings at his blog, The Liturgy Nerd.
Hey ya’all! My name is Alexis Williams. I am a 30 year old ordained Elder, serving in West Branch, IA. I grew up in Iowa and am happy to be back here to serve the UMC Conference that helped shape who I am today. I have an M.Div from Iliff School of Theology out in Denver, CO. My primary calling centers around preaching and teaching the Gospel of Jesus. I have a heart that breaks for all of those that have been hurt by the church, are no longer in communion with a community, and have trouble seeing Jesus past the Christians.
I am happy to admit that I am still in a state of discernment about my call and my role. Right now, it is my joy to serve in parish ministry as a Lead Pastor in a growing and vibrant community. But I know that God’s plans are not necessarily my plans, so I am curious to see where my journey takes me 10-15 years from now.
My name is Luke Currier, I’m twenty three years old. I’ve lived and worked with ministries in seven states. I’m currently sort of homeless, I say ‘sort of’ because I have places that I could go if I wanted to, I really don’t want to. For the last two years I worked as a Youth Director at a church in Hammond, IN, a town sandwiched between Gary and the south side of Chicago, it was pretty stressful so I’m taking a non traditional, informal sabbatical.
I currently hop trains and hitchhike around the continental U.S. I spend a lot of time writing and learning the violin. I’m also currently a participant in the academy for spiritual formation.
My future Goals include finishing my B.A. at some point in the next two years and then pursuing an M.Div. and ordination.
Chris is an elder in the Indiana Conference and Associate Pastor at Meridian Street UMC in Indianapolis. Chris has served as pastors of 4 churches throughout the last 8 years. He is a graduate of of the University of Cincinnati and has his Master of Divinity Degree from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio (www.united.edu).
He is married to his best friend, Renee, both originally from Cincinnati, Ohio. Renee is a marriage and family therapist at Keystone Counseling in Indianapolis. They have four children that bring them life and joy.
Chris is passionate about faith, the Church, relationships family, sharing the Good News, and reaching out to our young generations for Jesus Christ. You can read his blog at pastorchrisroberts.blogspot.com.
Nan Hurd is originally from Pace, Florida. After she graduated from high school in 2006 she went to York, England to do a DTS (Discipleship Training School) with YWAM (Youth With A Mission). The first seven months of the ten month school was spent listening to lectures with really cool speakers on topics like the Father-heart of God, Hearing the voice of God, Post-Modernism, The Cross, Intercession ad Prayer, Holy Spirit and more. Two out of three weeks involved working with local ministries like a homeless ministry, an elderly center, youth groups, practical work for poor people, and engaging with people coming out of clubs and bars late at night. They lived in houses in the community and got to know each other very well which resulted in lots of peer “iron sharpening iron.” Lastly, they went on two outreaches one to Europe, and one to India. It was an amazing experience that has now opened the door to what her calling is.
Now Nan is still in York, England doing a leadership and pioneering ministries school which trains and supports people in starting new ministries. God’s called her to her current work with women in prostitution. In the next 4 years or so I’m hoping to be starting a ministry doing the same in a red light district somewhere. If you want to check out more about Nan, you can read her blog at: nancyperry.wordpress.com.
Andy Whitaker Smith
Andy graduated from the University of Kansas in 2003 with a Bachelor of General Studies in Film Studies (and so that he can answer your question: Yes, The Godfather is the greatest movie, ever). During the latter half of college Andy began to regularly attend Lawrence First United Methodist Church, which was at the time just starting to form a new Young Adult Group. Through the years our group grew closer together—personally and spiritually—and he became more involved in activities of learning and participation in the church. Andy remarks that, “During of one of the classes, the senior pastor smiled at me after my turn to speak and said: ‘We’ll get ya into seminary, yet.’”
It took years of discernment and conversations with others to get over this barrier, and after coming back from a mission trip in Bay St. Louis right after Hurricane Katrina, and much prayer, he realized that what he wanted to be involved in was a call from God. Andy enrolled at Saint Paul School of Theology in the fall of 2006. At the end of his first year Andy was appointed as a student pastor in the small town of Hiattville, just west of Fort Scott, KS. It was also in this year that he met a fellow student who showed him God and life in ways I had never seen before. After a time of friendship and growing closer together in ministry, spiritual searching, and finally love, they were married July 14, 2008 in the Kresge Chapel of the Saint Paul campus. Now in his 4th and final year of seminary, Andy is looking forward to full-time ministry, and the ways in which God is calling all of us to share love with one another and change the world together.
Aaron is 28 and grew up just North of Dallas in the suburbs of Richardson and Plano. After graduating high school, he attended Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX and received his B.A. in History with minors in Spanish and Philosophy. Immediately following his graduation, he attended Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX where he received a Master of Divinity degree in 2007.
During his time at Perkins he spent most of his elective courses studying evangelism and postmodern/emerging Christianity. Aaron has spoken at conferences, local churches, and other organization meetings about social justice and young adult involvement as evangelism. Aaron also has a passion for building and fostering authentic community with others. Currently, he serves as the Interim Director of Religious Life and Residence Life Specialist at Southwestern University. Ultimately, Aaron wants to work in university administration .
Aaron has been married to Lacy, his better half, for almost 4 years. They recently gave birth to twin boys. In his free time Aaron enjoys reading, running,arguing about things, and not capitalizing his writing on his personal blog.
Big Questions, Christian Faith, and Young Adulthood
I Will not Settle for a Second-Rate Christian Spirituality
Jesus is Lord of Your Facebook Profile, Too
Jesus Worked with His Hands until His 30th Year
Ben Simpson is a Christian, freelance writer, and school bus driver in his hometown of De Soto, Kansas. He has been married to his wife, Molly, for six years. Molly is the campus pastor of the West Campus of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, which is located in Olathe, Kansas.
Ben is working toward the completion of his second Master’s degree at The University of Kansas. He enjoys coffee, conversation, baseball, and time with friends. You can connect with Ben through social media by visiting his website, benjaminasimpson.com.
Mandy Burbank is a 31-year-old wife and mother of three from Montgomery, Alabama. She has changed a lot since she graduated from Huntingdon College 10 years ago, where she majored in psychology and literature. For instance she now has purple hair.
Mandy loves writing poetry, creating art, cooking challenging recipes, and experiencing new things, especially people and places, flavors, music and ideas. She also enjoys Reality TV that allows people to celebrate and exhibit their art, like Top Chef and So You Think You Can Dance. She finds simple things like children’s cartoons thought-provoking and looks for a spiritual challenge in unexpected places. She finds her greatest joy and inspiration in friendships, new ones made through Facebook or Myspace, as well as lifelong friends and family, but especially the awesome and humbling friendship of Jesus Christ.
Mandy married her high school sweetheart and they celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary in July. Their favorite pastimes include reading books and watching movies together, especially discovering artistic, creative and original films. An example of a film that she found beautiful is Romeo + Juliet with Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio, which came out the year she graduated from high school. Even at 18, Mandy passionately believed that no matter how artistically or timelessly it is presented, the romance depicted in Shakespeares famous play isn’t real love at all. She loves to talk frankly to friends about love and relationships, the joys and challenges, and direct them to scripture instead of the world for truth about love.
Mandy used to be afraid to have dreams for the future, because she thought it was better to stay safe than to risk disappointment. She gives her entrepreneur husband and God the credit for opening her eyes to the joy of hoping and wishing and dreaming big. Some dreams she and her husband have tossed around include: becoming movie and food critics, opening a bed-and-breakfast/ art gallery, being live-in counselors for Mercy Ministries, or teaching yoga with a Christian perspective.
In the fall, Ben will start his second year of college at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana majoring in Secondary Education: English. After college, he will – after a great amount of prayer – either pursue a teaching career, or enroll in seminary with the intent of being an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church.
He has recently developed a passion for global ministry and social justice. In his past those words seemed like taglines for evangelism and politics. However, he now sees them as ways to better the world. At the 2008 General Conference in Fort Worth, Texas, he was introduced to the global nature of the Body of Christ and since then has tried to educate himself on issues facing his community and communities around the globe.
When not searching for good cheesecake, Ben enjoys reading, writing, and learning how far he can park away from Panera and still connect to their free wireless internet. So far, he’s not had much luck beyond ten yards.
Katie Bishop, 26, lives in Frederick, Maryland with her husband, Chris and daughter, Eden, who is two. Katie serves as a pastor at Garfield United Methodist Church, a small rural congregation of about 80 in worship attendance. She is also the chair of the Baltimore-Washington Conference’s Young Adult Council. She holds a Bachelor’s degree from Marymount University in Virginia and a Master’s degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. with a concentration in Youth Ministry. In her spare time, Katie loves being crafty and takes classes from the local arts and crafts store to learn new skills.
Passionate about the renewal of the United Methodist Church, Katie dreams of a day when the pews are full of people drawing back to God. Trusting that this growth will come from local congregations, she has put her prayers, energy and efforts into her local congregation. Katie has chosen to write about healthy relationships, seeing the need for Young Adults in her community (including herself) for balance while serving God and others.
Jeri Katherine Warden:
Jeri Katherine Warden is the daughter of Chaplain Robert Warden and Reverend Patricia Warden. Jeri Katherine graduated from Gardner-Webb University in 2007 with a BA in English. She is entering her third and final year of the Masters of Divinity program at Boston University School of Theology. She is a certified candidate in the South Carolina conference in the United Methodist Church. She has been interning this summer with the Wesley Foundation at the University of Hawaii Manoa on the island of Oahu. Jeri Katherine loves to run, cycle and read, and hopes to combine her passion for athletics and academics with her love, passion and dedication to God in ministry to university students.
Deena Marie Hamilton:
Rev. Deena Marie Hamilton is a 33 year old pastor in the Arkansas Conference. Her current appointment is Mc Cabe Chapel United Methodist Church in North Little Rock, AR. She is also the President/CEO/Owner of New Horizons Foundation, Inc. a non-profit organization dedicated to the empowerment of young people through education, public health, economic development, and advocacy. She graduated from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Nursing in 2010. Her career plan is to become a general nurse practitioner and develop strategic public health and educational ministries in the community. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from Philander Smith College, and has two Master degrees from the University of Phoenix in Business Administration and Healthcare Management.
Rev. Hamilton also writes Christian fiction novels for youth and young adults. The first installment in her series is called Rude Awakening, which is available in all major bookstores.
In her journey into becoming a minister, she has had some life changing experiences in her life that have allowed for her to have a passion for youth and young adult ministries. She strongly believes that the holistic spiritual formation of young people should not begin when they are well into adult hood, but earlier in life. As a young adult pastor, her wish for ministry is to be able to help with spiritual formation of the members of her congregation from a holistic point of view. She would like to use her gifts and graces to cultivate and nurture the spiritual formation of youth and young adults while building generational bridges with the older adults so that the church as a whole can thrive and not just survive. She wants to be able to development tangible programs that will tie into the vision of the conference and help the local church remain a church alive by the grace of God, transforming lives for Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit.