Helping Young People to Launch Their Lives

Helping Young People to Launch Their Lives

Dr. Craig von BuseckBy Dr. Craig von Buseck14 Minutes

CVB: Your book is a practical guide to help young people get started on the right foot. What gave you the idea for Launch Your Life: Creating a Life in Service of God?

Philip Bruns: Well, it was very fun. We have four daughters, two are out of college, two are still in college. When we were helping them figure out their college career and then onto their careers, they asked us to also help their friends. The next thing you know, we were having classes and mentoring these young people. They were such an inspiration to us. Launch Your Life is really about navigating that transition from college into your career and professional life. That time during your twenties can be very difficult. We find that the young people have challenges with debt. They have challenges with losing their faith because they get discouraged. Sometimes they don’t know which direction to go in choosing careers and college majors. So, we wrote this book out of inspiration from them.

CVB: It’s quite a leap to go from “they asked for help” to now you’re teaching classes. Can you fill in that gap?

Elizabeth Bruns: We get compliments all the time about our children being very driven, being very spiritual, being very committed in their ministries that they’re in and having like a formulated destination in terms of first job. And so it wasn’t just our kids, although what they noticed in themselves is that they were different than their friends. So not only did they ask us to help their friends, but their friends, parents asked us to help their children. They wanted us to help them to shepherd and guide their children into this murky water of getting a career job on the back end of college.

Our minister supported us doing these classes and created the space for that. We ended up with recommendations to other churches that he was connected to. And so the front of this is actually our guest speaking, our classes, and our training. We started doing formal mentoring of young people, helping them with their resumes and in discovering which careers were they looking for. We helped them with interviewing by doing mock interviews with them.

Finally our minister said, “Would you please consider writing a book because your content is so needed today.” When we wrote the book and had to do comparisons for marketing purposes, we discovered that there’s not a lot of content out there that has a biblical, God-centric view to discover how God is working in my life to formulate my path. So many young people think Christianity is about going to church. They don’t realize that Christianity and walking with God is about including Him in your job. It’s about letting your ministry be your job and letting God move you through your life in getting a job and being a career professional.

CVB: So talk to me about some of the specifics. When a young person in their twenties picks this up, what are some of the tools they’re going to find?

Philip: Launch Your Life is broken down into three different parts. The first part is about understanding God’s dreams for us. Sometimes we don’t think about how wonderfully He’s made us and the hard work He’s put into growing and shaping us. Then we consider creating a dream ourselves for God. We also talk about a foundation formula being Bible study, prayer, and personal ministry as the foundation for your life. Sometimes we get stuck on our Christianity being one or two hours on a Sunday morning, when in fact, God desires our whole lives.

The second part is more about the reader. We get into a study of some biblical characters. We examine people like Nehemiah, Daniel, Lydia, and the Proverbs 31 woman. We look at men and women who were working people. They had jobs. Some of them had bosses that were of a different faith. Some had really good days on their jobs, and some had really bad days. Something that was unique to all of them was their relationship with God as a foundation. You can see how God used their whole lives for his work. Then we get into some specific details about looking at your own strengths and your weaknesses. We look at budgeting. We also offer some practical how-to’s on dating.

CVB: All of those things are vitally important for people in their twenties.

Philip: We touched on each of them because they encompass your life. Then the last part of the book is just about the long journey ahead. We have a long look at Joseph as a working professional. He was a real person who was thrown in a pit by his brothers. He had a really bad day. But then, suddenly, he had some big promotions in his life, too. And so you look at all the ups and downs and how God in the end worked through all of it. It’s actually extremely inspirational. We’ve had a couple of comments from our readers who say, “I am so inspired. I am ready to move forward on my life because I see how God can use it.”

CVB: That’s great.

Elizabeth: I would add that we believe deeply that knowing God is important, but also having a good sense of self awareness. You have to know what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. We run into a number of scenarios with these young people. Some have a dream and they’re just dreamers. They’re not actually moving forward with anything. Some of our readers are sitting around waiting and they think if they pray about it long enough, that God’s going to open some door, so they are not actually putting a resume together or moving forward.

Others have a dream of what they want to do, but it’s not actually attached to their skillset. So it’s a mismatch. These are things that cause the young people we meet with to stall, or to pause, when what they should be doing is moving forward. So what we try to do is help them put together a plan, not for the next 30 years, but for the next five years. What is it that you can do in a combination of degree, job, volunteering, and interning that allows you to build a resume of things that will move you towards something in 30 years?

We find that just getting them started and moving forward in a belief in God and a belief in who they are, that is our sweet spot. There is a lot of practical self-awareness and self-exploration on top of biblical truth around these characters and how God made you that ideally they can put together. We call it IPA: intention, planning, and action. After reading the book, they can take action and move forward.

CVB: Well, it sounds like the wonderful blending of the theological, the theoretical, and the practical coming together.

Philip: Yes. We’ve referenced the Bible quite a bit. It was fun to write about the biblical characters. Sometimes we read the stories in the Bible and we think they’re great, amazing things that happened thousands of years ago, when in fact there’s a lot applicable to our lives today. We try to bring them to life as if they were alive today.

Elizabeth: They had to have courage. Daniel lived in an exile country with none of his bosses of his faith. And he had to declare his faith. Nehemiah asked for a sabbatical from his boss who didn’t believe in his God. And he got to go to Jerusalem to rebuild the wall for his people. Priscilla and Aquila are mentioned multiple times in the New Testament as tent makers and missionaries. So they have a job that is fueling their missionary focus. When you put it in the light of how brightly they shown, especially in their non-faith environment with people that didn’t believe what they believed, it really does inspire. It inspired us and it inspires our readers to look at their job as their mission field. I need to look at as my character, as an asset for my boss, not a liability.

We also work with young people on with their resume. We’re much more about character than we are about skillset. When we look at a resume, we want to build in your Christian character. Nobody cares how many times you were a cash register clerk, or how many part-time jobs you had. What they really want to know about a young person is your character, your integrity, your leadership, and your passion to bring it into this job. That would obviously glorify God as well as be inspiring to a potential employer.

Sometimes our young people when they’re thinking Christianity’s on Sunday morning, they’re not looking at the world as awareness of where does God want me? What am I meant to do? God used tent making to bring Priscilla and Aquilla together with Paul.

CVB: And the tentmaking helped to sustain them while God was building this thing that would influence so many other people in the New Testament and all the way up to today.

Elizabeth: I really very much appreciate Phil’s work on this book because it’s very balanced. The male and female voice in the book is very balanced. We are partners in this endeavor. I’m an engineer working in research and development. It’s not necessarily always an easy road trying to do a female career track that’s in technology, or math, or science, or something like that. And I appreciate God’s heart for women. I appreciate the biblical narrative around female characters. And I really appreciate that in our book it’s an equal voice for both men and women.

Philip: Beth mentioned that she’s an engineer. We’re actually not in full time ministry. We are working people. And so a lot of our own experiences are in the book.

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