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Here are a few ways you can get started in youth ministry, whether you are a congregational leader, an adult ally, or a youth yourself.

Ways to Do Youth Ministry

How to Start a Youth Group

  • Starting a Youth Group (PDF)—No single formula exists for how to get a youth group off the ground. This resource offers guidance to help you navigate a youth group start-up.
  • Deep Fun is a collection of games to help youth groups build community.

Balanced Youth Programming

Successful youth ministries offer a variety of experiences in various realms. These two models provide ways to look at that range of experiences:


If you are struggling for what to "do" with your youth group, structured curricula are a good resource. Some are designed to be used as complete programs while others are adaptable, letting you pick and choose sessions or activities.

  • Tapestry of Faith is the Unitarian Universalist Association's (UUA's) core curriculum series and it has both youth programs and multigenerational programs.
  • Our Whole Lives (OWL) offers youth the opportunity to engage with questions of human development, relationships, personal skills, sexual behavior, sexual health, and society and culture in a structured, long-term program.

Further Reading

  • Youth Ministry Advising: A Complete Guide
    A must-have resource for adults working with youth in UU congregations. Offers guidance, program ideas and tips for creating and maintaining youth programs within congregations. This resource includes information on building safe community, supporting youth leaders, structuring a program and more.
  • When Youth Lead
    Offers guidance, suggestions and advice for constructing and maintaining a healthy and spiritually vital youth ministry. Seeing youth as equal participants in congregational life, this book demonstrates how teens are an enormous generative force for our faith communities and how adults have much to learn from youth about passion, friendship, discrimination, equality, faith and more.
  • Full Circle: Fifteen Ways to Grow Lifelong UUs
    Katie Tweedie Covey (Erslev), a lifelong UU, surveyed and interviewed 82 people from ages 25 to 87 who were raised as UUs. She identifies fifteen common threads as critical to their commitment to their faith. An excellent Unitarian Universalist-specific resource on building multigenerational community.

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