From the Trenches – Young Adult Ministry

I am thrilled to share with you a ministry story from Amy at Woodway UMC in Waco. She responded to a previous e-mail asking what churches were doing with regard to young adult ministry.

In response to your newsletter item on Young Adult ministry, I thought I would share a few thoughts from my experience.  My husband and I teach a college-age Sunday school class at Woodway FUMC.  We were asked to serve in this role when it was perceived that there was a need.  We started out with one regular attendee.  Now in our fourth year, we have eight students.  Given that many churches in our area have large college ministries, we recognize that we cannot and do not want to compete with what they are offering.  For the students who faithfully attend our class, we have realized that not all young adults are looking for a flashy contemporary worship service full of a bunch of other young adults.  Some young adults prefer traditional worship and a multigenerational church family.  Marketing our church for what it is helps prevent visitors from being disappointed.  We need to be authentic in describing what we have, and open to ways God might lead us to change.  Once our core group of students was established, they began bringing friends.  Our Sunday School class has expanded to after-worship fellowship lunches at restaurants and a weekly mid-week Bible study in our home.  I guess my best suggestions for those starting out on this journey would be to pray frequently and expectantly, allowing God to lead the way.  Also, truly investing in the development of our students has fostered deep, meaningful relationships in what we hope is a safe place for young adults to explore who God has created them to be.

Prayer is definitely an important element when started, continuing, changing, or working in ministry in any capacity. It’s something very important to remember when working with young adults because it causes us to slow down, listen for God, and act on what God wants and what is best for the community, not just what is easiest or most comfortable.

If you have a personal story about your involvement in local ministry, youth, young adults, or otherwise, I’d love to hear your story!