02 April 2010

Share Your Faith #12: On Young Adult Ministry

In my capacity as young adult ministry consultant for the Ballou Channing District of the Unitarian Universalist Association, I spend a lot of time thinking about what exactly we mean when we talk about young adult ministry.

What does young adult ministry look like? Who does the work and who supports it? I have my own opinions, but I'm very interested in hearing yours.

Does ministering to young adults mean:

  • offering them unique programming (special services, etc.) separate from traditional programming and designed to entice them to remain active in their congregations?  
  • modifying traditional programming in order to make it more accessible for people of all generations, including young adults?
  • forming a community of people like them (in their 20s and 30s) in which they can grow and change, either as part of a church or as a separate fellowship?
  • trying to integrate them into the larger church community by listening to their concerns and offering them opportunities for leadership?
  • mentoring them, providing both spiritual support and/or life-guidance in the form of practical assistance (meals, childcare, social activities, adult religious education opportunities)---those things that will help them feel connected to a church community?
Who would do this ministry work? Would it be done, ideally, by professional staff, i.e, ministers who specialize in working with the young adult population, in churches and in the community? Would it be done by young adults themselves? Or by some combination of the two?

Today's comment question: What would you like to see young adult ministry become? What---if anything---would help you feel more connected to your church and to Unitarian Universalism?
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