Young adult ministry

There’s been some fascinating talk about youth ministry at Matt Kinsi’s blog here and here (the comments are as good as the blog entry itself, I think) and probably elsewhere as well—I’m sure there was some conversation about GA, though I was mostly involved in other things.

As a young adult, a candidate for ministry, and just someone who cares about the future of Unitarian Universalism, I am passionate about young adult ministry—youth ministry, too, for that matter, which I have done on both a volunteer and paid basis for several years now. But believing in the importance of ministry and community for young adults doesn’t mean I agree with everyone else out there about what that means in practice.

Should we have young adult groups in every congregation? Should those groups have some staff support, at least at a congregation of any size? If so (or if not), what sort of support do such groups need? Or should we be working on making our congregations welcoming to young adults all the way around, not just in an age affinity group?

More and more, I’m coming around to the last question, to which I think we have to answer an overwhelming yes. The most successful young adult group I had direct interaction with basically evolved out of existence, because the young adults became so woven into the larger congregation that the need for strictly young adult programming became obsolete. That’s not to say it’s the only way to go, but I think it may be best. Young adult ministry needs to be something that all of our congregations, ministers, DREs, and lay leaders think about. It’s something all of us need to care about. But there is no one way to go, there are many. The UU Church of Atlanta’s 20s/30s group is among the most successful, at least in terms of size and vibrancy. But my home church, which doesn’t even have quite 100 members, has had a successful, though small and informal, group of young adults for years. I want to do whatever we can to help leaders, lay and professional, who care about young adults in our congregations. One day, when I have free time (haha) I would like to work on this.

A side note: General Assembly is particularly problematic for young adult issues. As Kinsi points out, it’s a select group of UUs that make it to GA. The Young Adult Caucus has never appealed to me. I went to exactly one of its events two years ago at Salt Lake City, and none this year in Charlotte. It just doesn’t seem like my scene, and I have felt the same way about district young adult stuff, by and large. I was and still am far more interested in being with the larger community, and going to the events and workshops that interest me personally, which is often not anything particularly about young adults.

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  1. […] joins the conversation about young adult ministry with questions of his own. Should we have young adult groups in every congregation? . . . Or should […]



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