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Here are ten tips for increasing the number of young adults in your congregation:

  1. Educate friends and members about young adults and their needs, through a Sunday service.
  2. Find out what your congregation does (or does not do) for young adults, and for youth as they age out of youth programs.
  3. Be hospitable. Have a young adult greeter on Sunday morning who pays particular attention to the young adults who come to the worship service.
  4. Ask a young adult to help you view the worship service through their eyes. Who are the visible people in leadership? Is the service participatory? What is the pace of the service, the music?
  5. Gather a few young adults and ask them what they need; worship, discussion, social time, service opportunities? Ask young adults to share with you what they see when they walk through the door on a Sunday morning.
  6. Hold well publicized, regularly-scheduled young adult meetings, in a public space, preferably at the church. Use different methods of communication—email, website, phone calls, flyers/posters and newsletters.
  7. Be an ally to young adults in your congregation but encourage them to provide leadership for the group. Don't patronize them by assuming they'll do the nasty jobs around your congregation or that they're children who need your guidance.
  8. After-church brunches (or dinners before or after an evening worship service) are one of the most successful means for young adults to get connected with each other. Go every Sunday to an inexpensive restaurant; make sure it is the same place and same time for the folks who get there late.
  9. This generation of young adults volunteer at a higher rate than many older generations. They want to be involved with congregations that are involved with social justice and social service in the larger community. They seek opportunities to connect their values to the larger world.
  10. Contact the Unitarian Universalist Association's Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry to get ideas about young adult ministry or to ask for help.

About this Essay

Audio Essay Series: Volume 2: The Best of InterConnections, Track 15 (MP3, 2:38 minutes)

Author: Don Skinner

Read By: Karen McCarthy

Date of Release: 2006

About the Drive Time Essay Series

This Audio Essay series was created by the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, for the purpose of supporting its valued lay leaders. Copying and sharing these essay texts, downloadable audio files, and the companion Lay Leader Drive Time Essays compact disc is welcomed and encouraged.

Comments or suggestions? We welcome your ideas about this Audio Essay series and your lay leader questions. Please send them to Don Skinner, the editor of InterConnections, a resource for lay leaders: interconnections [at] uua [dot] org.

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