18 February 2010

Thursday Resource: On Soulful Sundown, Part II: Why (Should We Bother?)

Footage from Soulful Sundown, Channing Memorial Church, Newport, RI

Is your church looking to attract a greater number of young adults? Are you enthusiastic about introducing people to the principles of Unitarian Universalism, but unsure where to start?

Soulful Sundown, the alternative, art-and-music-focused worship service targeted toward those between ages of 18 and 40 might be the perfect fit for you. (For more on Soulful Sundown, please see Part I: What (Is It?))

Since 1998, Soulful Sundown has inspired thousands of people and has encouraged churches to work together to energize their outreach and ministry efforts. Still, few congregations even know the program exists, and even fewer are willing to host one.

They wonder: Do we even have any young adults here?

They ask: Is it worth it? Do we have the time and the resources necessary to do something like this?

The young adults of your district are here to tell you that the answer to both questions is yes. YES YES YES.

YES! You do have young adults in your congregation! We guarantee it. (For more on where they might be and why you're not necessarily seeing them, please see "Where the Boys (and Girls) Are.")

YES! Soulful Sundown is a low-cost, highly effective program that can benefit your congregation immensely.

What benefits can Soulful Sundown offer your congregation?


Soulful Sundown is a chance for your church to introduce itself to the community. Because informal, alternative programming like Soulful Sundown is advertised more heavily and in different places than a traditional Sunday morning service would be, it's likely to attract new faces.

People will come because they're curious. They'll return because they feel, in the words of Marlin Lavanhar, "welcomed, honored, and challenged" by what you do.


Young adults are energetic and are looking for congregations that are, too. Hosting Soulful Sundown is a great way to indicate that your church is committed to welcoming new members and eager to grow.

People will come because they're seeking a church that values their energy and passion. They'll stay because they see how many young people are involved in the life of your congregation.


Though it's targeted toward young adults, Soulful Sundown programming is really for everyone and everyone at your church---regardless of age---can help organize it and can contribute. Soulful Sundown is the perfect venue for diverse talents: aspiring, professional, or retired performers, cooks, graphic designers, filmmakers and activists can all work to make Soulful Sundown successful!

People will come because they heard about the program from a friend, relative, or neighbor. They will stay because they see that your church values the abilities and contributions of all people, regardless of age.

For more on how to bring Soulful Sundown to your community, stay tuned for our next post on the topic: Soulful Sundown: How (Do We Do It?)

Have you ever participated in or attended Soulful Sundown? If your church has hosted one, did you see a change in the number of young adults attending your services or becoming involved in congregational life?

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