Young Adult & Campus Ministry
May 18, 2010 - Report on Young Adult Ministry
Eric Dawson's report of May 18th prepared for the Mass Bay District explores how Unitarian Universalist young adults define, understand, and apply their spiritual practices and needs. Gathered from a mixture of 350 interviews and surveys, the data paint a picture of deeply inquisitive, religiously open, and socially committed young people, skeptical about church life and hungry for lived spiritual communities. After exploring the spiritual needs and values of this group, the project moves to understanding how church life, particularly worship – the common heart of Unitarian Universalist spiritual life – speaks to these needs of young adult Unitarian Universalists. The report seeks to answer the question of how a liberal faith tradition like Unitarian Universalism can re-imagine its ministry to connect with disconnected young adults.
Read Eric's entire report at this link.
For the vibrancy and sustainability of our congregations...
Young Adults (not the section at the library) are defined as 18-35 years old. Why such a large range? Largely because they are not in our congregations… And because they tend to be in a place of beginnings, starting off, seeking support during a time of exploration & transition.
Small Group Ministry
Young adults (like many adults) come to congregations seeking fellowship and connection. Small group ministry is a place where those connections can be formed in a structured context of theological exploration and spiritual development. Think “youth group” for adults. Curricula are available from the UUA. Fostering a successful small group ministry takes some energy and attention, but young adults (especially homebred UUs) may just be ready to put that energy in. Staff support (with appropriate funding) is extremely helpful (e.g., Boston UU Young Adults, BUUYA).
Supported by congregations or clusters, college and/or college-aged individuals can develop their own small group ministries for fellowship, support, and spirituality at a time of transitioning and questioning. Many UUs find their faith during this time in their lives. Staff support from area congregations is critical.
Alternative Worship Styles & Sunday Morning
Vibrant worship is one of the great skills and powerful draws for UU young adults. Churches with younger adults tend to have lively music, multi-sensory engagement, and creative expression in worship. Young adult groups tend to hold evening worship designed to supplement Sunday morning. Often they are held in a circle and focus heavily on music and creativity. They have the potential to bring young adults (and new ideas) into your Sunday worships.
District, Regional, & Continental Events
Leadership trainings, retreats, social action events and conferences are all a part of what inspires young adults and provides them with the tools they need. Such ministries as Opus and Campus Ministry training are critical to growth but not for growth’s sake. They are a moral imperative for our congregations. Youth, young adults, and others long for our message and our community. We should strive to include them now, not later, and incorporate them into our service to each other and the world. The investment in energy and resources will be more than returned. MBD seeks to help you nurture these ministries in your congregations:
- New Youth Advisor Start-up support
- Consultation on youth and/or young adult ministries
- Youth conferences, trainings, retreats (facilitated by District, hosted by congregations or clusters)
- Campus ministry support – effective strategies, leadership training, networking, and support
- Help you advocate for staff support & funding
- You tell us….
For information, contact
Sue Phillips, Director of Program Development
sphillips [at] uua [dot] org
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