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Improve Young Adult Ministry at Your Congregation

Posted by Annie Gonzalez Milliken // September 5th 2013 // Guides and Tools, On Campus, young adults // 7 comments

Tool BoxA New Tool for Building Great Ministry

Why am I the only person in their 20s at coffee hour? How can my fellowship support the students who meet for lunch after the service? What can this church do to make young parents feel more welcome? How do we get a new generation of leaders on our Board?



If finding answers to any of these questions sounds good to you, then check out the UUA’s new Young Adult Ministry Self-Assessment for congregations! Whether your congregation rarely has anyone under 40 come in the door, or whether you’ve got several exciting young adult ministries that you want to improve, this is a tool that can help you on your journey toward growing and enriching your ministry to young adults.

This tool, designed by and for Unitarian Universalists, is easy to use. It starts with a twelve question assessment that can be taken by a young adult leader, a staff person, small group, lay volunteer or anyone else from your congregation. The tool was created using a developmental model of young adult ministry, with the awareness that each congregation is different and that young adult involvement in congregations varies: young families, people in the workplace and young professionals, new converts to the faith, young adults who grew up UU, seekers, theists and more. The results of the assessment will help you understand where your congregation is now and, based on that information, offer strategies and resources for moving toward a stronger and more integrated young adult presence.

Click here to take the self-assessment, and please let us know how you experienced it! Your feedback will help us make this new tool even more useful.

Feel free to contact me with your comments and questions at agonzalez@uua.org, or paste them in the comment section below.



About the Author

Annie is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister and currently serves our faith as the Young Adult and Campus Ministry Associate for the Unitarian Universalist Association.
7 Responses to “Improve Young Adult Ministry at Your Congregation”
  1. Becki says:

    Thanks, this was an interesting survey to fill out. I struggled with a lot of the questions because we have VERY few young adults, like myself, but the ones we do have are integrated with the congregation and not a “group.” Staff is committed to building intergenerational community and extremely receptive to ideas from young adults, but there are not enough young adults for a critical mass to build a small group ministry.

    Another thing I wonder if whether others in their late 20s and 30s mind being labeled “young adults.” To me, that sounds more like college age, non-professional, etc. and at 28 I don’t really connect with that term. “Young professionals” and “young parents” (which I’m not, but when I am eventually) don’t bug me in the same way. “Millennials” speaks more to me, probably because it speaks to a set of realities we live in (Internet) rather than being young/inexperienced. What do you think?

    • Annie Gonzalez says:

      Thanks so much for your feedback, Becki! It is great to hear that the young adults in your congregation are well integrated and that the staff are supportive. I hear your frustration about critical mass. Did you find the results of the assessment useful?

      With regards to the term, I agree, it’s complicated! There are so many different folks under the “Young Adult” umbrella. Have you seen this post on the blog? http://blueboat.blogs.uua.org/2013/08/13/what-does-young-adultmmean/
      It addresses these questions in a really helpful way.
      Thanks again for taking the assessment!

      • Becki says:

        Thanks – I just looked at that post and agree with Carey that categorizing young adults by generational shifts or life stages would be more relevant because young adults are at such different points in their lives. For example, a group like “newlyweds” would be great, but you’d have to have enough people in that specific category – unlikely in a small church.

        For the assessment results, based on my answers I got stage 3: Building, but in reading it I found stage 2: Inviting more relevant. And yes, these are useful and inspiring ideas like reaching out to regional UU young adults!

  2. Barret says:

    Hello Annie,
    Like Becki I had some difficulty identifying where our congregation fell along the spectrum, but Building stage sounds pretty accurate. Thanks to the UUA YA ministries staff for putting together the survey. It was helpful to reflect on where we are and being mindful about where we want to be, the resources will be helpful moving forward. The UUYAM web conferences are not feasible for me to attend, but I will keep an eye on the ideas that emerge and an ear our for members who might be willing and available to engage.

    • Annie Gonzalez says:

      Thanks for the feedback! I’m glad Building feels accurate, despite the complexities. I hope joining the Building facebook group proves useful to you as well!

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