Kick-Off a Great 2016 With the Best of Blue Boat 2015!

Posted by T. Resnikoff // January 2nd 2016 // Future of Faith, Guides and Tools // no comments

ALL MY BEST TO YOU AND YOURS In case you missed some – or all – of our recent social media blast campaign #BBTOP10of15 of the 10 most read stories of 2105 on The Blue Boat, we’ve compiled the list here: 10. Adulthood – Spiritually Guided Less than a year ago when we announced that Becoming: A Spiritual Guide for Navigating Adulthood, edited by Kayla Parker, was available for free thanks to generous donors, we were out-of-stock in less than a month! But don’t worry – this meditation and reflection manual, crafted with Unitarian Universalist young adults in mind is available – has been republished, and can be purchased at the UUA Bookstore. 9. Hanging…

Being Stewards and Living Generously

Posted by Bart Frost // December 18th 2015 // Future of Faith, Guides and Tools // no comments

One of the best things about church is that it is an intentional community where you can live your values. In a world where almost everything is based on a transactional “fee-for-service” system, church is one place where things operate differently. A church shares its services with you joyfully, until you decide that you feel ready to give joyfully back. Giving is an important part of the mutual relationship we have with our churches and with all of the people in our faith. One of the things I’ve noticed throughout the years is we always expect adults to give, but sometimes we forget that younger generations in our congregations want to live generous lives too!…

Taking a Small Risk for Big Growth

Posted by Bart Frost // November 25th 2015 // Future of Faith, young adults, youth // 6 comments

How Smart Congregations Grow Members This summer at the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) General Assembly, our Youth Media Volunteers interviewed a number of youth about their personal histories with Unitarian Universalism. As I reviewed their footage, something stuck out to me. Almost all of the youth said something along the lines of “I’ve been a member since I was two,” or “My whole family has been members since my parents got married in our church, before I was born!” Our interviews at General Assembly reminded me that membership is more than just signing a book and making a pledge. Being a part of a community is about relationships, it isn’t about signing the membership book…

Summer Seminary Hires Three New Staff Members

Posted by jennicadavishockett // November 20th 2015 // Future of Faith, Guides and Tools // one comment

The Summer Seminary program for Unitarian Universalist youth exploring the possibility of becoming a religious professional welcomes 3 new staff members! They will accompany 25 youth from across the nation exploring the call to ministry in all its forms, learning about life as a religious professional, and connecting with other youth considering ministry. Summer Seminary is August 2nd-8th, 2016 in Berkeley, CA hosted by Starr King School for the Ministry. Minister in Residence, Kimberly Quinn Johnson As a teenager,  I could imagine nothing less likely for my own future than ministry. I grew up in a family and a culture deeply committed to religion: reverence, faith, care for the world around me—in a household that encouraged questions, reason, and critical…

Can Unitarian Universalists Really Believe Anything?

Posted by jennicadavishockett // November 11th 2015 // Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, Issues and Trends // 28 comments

Contrary to What You Might Have Heard, UUs Don’t Just Believe Whatever They Want Unitarian Universalists (UU) are a strange bunch. In any given gathering of UUs there may be someone whose faith is based on the teachings of Jesus, someone who has a daily meditation practice, someone who sees God in nature and someone who doesn’t see a god in anything. And yet they can all sing the same hymn and worship together. You may meet Unitarian Universalists who believe there’s a divine spark in each of us and others who believe that to be human means to have a fun mix of good and evil. And yet we come together to support one another and…

Plan the Escape of Your Inner Human!

Posted by T. Resnikoff // November 9th 2015 // Future of Faith // no comments

Camp Unirondack Transforms 😐 Into 🙂 If there is one thing that seven years at Camp Unirondack has taught me, it is that camp is not just for kids. I know, I know, camp director rhetoric if you’ve ever heard it right? But let me tell you why it’s true. It stems from a struggle that I think many people share. If there is one thing almost all people on this planet have one thing in common it is that feeling of doubt inside. Am I going to pass this test? Will I graduate? Am I good enough? I have yet to meet someone who hasn’t felt it. Part of that feeling is an ever-present…

5 Ways to Support Youth In Your Congregation

Posted by Bart Frost // October 1st 2015 // 2014 Youth Ministry Survey, Featured Youth, Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, UUA // one comment

A.K.A. 5 Things Your Congregation Will Thank You For Our survey of 351 Unitarian Universalist (UU) youth provided some real gems and had some real flaws. Here are the five major takeaways we learned: 1. Build Opportunities for Connection This survey shows us that our youth want to be involved in the life of their congregation because they are already invested in their congregation. Think about the times when you feel most welcome in a situation. Did someone invite you to the party, to worship, to a concert? When you showed up, did they ignore you or did they welcome you and engage you in conversation?   Invite your youth to worship! If they can’t make…

How Congregations Can Better Serve Their Youth

Posted by Bart Frost // October 1st 2015 // 2014 Youth Ministry Survey, Featured Youth, Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, UUA // no comments

Leads for Keeping Youth in Your Congregation We started asking “How could your church better serve you?” after noting the responses to the magic-wand question were highly aspirational. Because they are qualitative instead of quantitative, measuring these two questions is more difficult than evaluating youth’s favorite part of church. The two most prominent responses were food-based and some form of “[My congregation] can’t because they already serve me well.” Other responses included promoting youth leadership: “It could send a youth leadership newsletter for opportunities such as those mentioned in the meeting at the UUA.” “More opportunity for youth leadership.” “Get the kids more involved in everything and tell us all about what’s going on in the general congregation.”…

What Would You Change with YOUR Magic Wand?

Posted by Bart Frost // October 1st 2015 // 2014 Youth Ministry Survey, Featured Youth, Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, UUA // no comments

Youth Perspective on What We Need to Do Better One of the questions we asked the youth who visited the Unitarian Universalist Association UUA was, “If you had a magic wand, what would you change about your church?” This question – although seemingly frivolous – was intended to see what needs youth had that their congregation wasn’t serving. Instead, the responses showed us the aspirational vision our youth have for their congregations. Because of these responses, we added another question: “How could your church better serve you?” We shared the responses to these two questions with the leaders of the youth’s congregations. The “magic wand” questions elicited some fantastically detailed responses from our youth. Their…

Favorite Parts of Church and Why

Posted by Bart Frost // October 1st 2015 // 2014 Youth Ministry Survey, Featured Youth, Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, UUA // one comment

Youth’s Favorite Parts of Church As you can see by the chart on the right, there is a very clear winner in terms of what youth enjoy the most about church. 44% of youth prefer youth group over every other aspect of congregational life. This isn’t new information; we’ve known that youth prefer the opportunities for community and connection that youth group provides. We also know that youth group serves young people’s needs regarding identity formation and community participation. Social events, religious education, and coffee hour follow youth group as the most popular activities (15%, 14%, and 11% respectively). These programs serve very similar needs as youth group in meeting the social needs of youth. Religious…