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Welcoming and Supporting Young Adults

Ensuring young adults feel welcome and know they have a place in your congregation is a first step to making our faith communities open to different generations and cultures.

Young Adult Programs

In addition to the programs described here, please visit the Get Started and Build and Sustain young adult ministry pages for information on how to support young adult groups in your congregation.

  • Bridging: Transitioning from Youth to Young Adulthood
    Support your congregation's youth through their transition into young adulthood (called "bridging"). Find books, avenues for connections, and materials that will help our churches stay connected with our youth.

    • Top Pick: Bridging: A Handbook for Congregations
  • Anchor Congregations
    The Anchor Congregations program offers a framework for becoming more friendly and supportive of young adults, and recognized Anchor Congregations have demonstrated their commitments to young adults in their faith communities.

    • Top Pick: Currently Recognized Anchor Congregations
    • Top Pick: Soulful Sundown: Re-Imagining Unitarian Universalist (UU) Worship for Young Adults
      Exploring new ways of entering into worship and religious community are key ways of speaking to younger generations. When done well, contemporary worship appeals to people of all ages.
  • Online Communications
  • Your online presence is your front door to the world. Having a friendly and informational website and Facebook page are essential for communicating that young adults are welcome at your congregation, but they are only the beginning. Review these materials and advice from the UUA on the following social media and technologies for congregations and groups.

Young Adults and the Future of Our Faith

Young adults are a core part of our multigenerational ministry as Unitarian Universalists (UUs), and are also on the leading edge of religious changes in the United States. Educate yourself on national trends to see the big picture of why young adult ministry is so critically important.

Congregations and Beyond—Noting the growing numbers of people who are “spiritual but not religious” or who identify as Unitarian Universalist but do not participate in a congregation, UUA President Peter Morales launched the Congregations and Beyond initiative to help UU congregations and groups develop capacities and position themselves to respond to the changing nature of religion in contemporary society by shifting and broadening the way in which we view our faith and our ministries.

Further Reading

  • Howe, Neil and Strauss, William. Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation. Vintage Books, 2000.
  • Merritt, Carol Howard. Tribal Church: Ministering to the Missing Generation. Herndon: The Alban Institute, 2007.
  • Parks, Sharon Daloz. Big Questions, Worthy Dreams: Mentoring Young Adults in Their Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Faith. Jossey-Bass, 2000.
  • Bowers, Laurene Beth. Designing Contemporary Congregations: How to Attract Those Under 50. Pilgrim Press, 2008.
  • Faith Formation 2020
    A well-respected group that helps Christian churches and their leaders imagine new directions for faith formation and designing 21st century innovations for their programs and ministries.
  • Pew Forum US Religious Landscape Survey
    This report offers the authoritative data on trends in American religious life and participation.


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