Build and Sustain Youth Ministry
Youth in Congregations
Youth ministry isn't just confined to the youth group. Our vision for youth ministry is that it permeates the life of the congregation and that youth are fully involved throughout the Association. Read the Report (PDF, 24 pages) from the Youth Ministry Working Group for a deeper look at the vision and ways you can put it into practice in your congregation.
- Youth Members (PDF)
This resource shares some of the reasons to open your congregational membership to youth and answers some of the most common questions.
- Including Youth on Committees
The Blue Boat blog post "Multiple Pathways: Youth on Boards and Committees" can help you think through ways to include youth on the committees of your congregation.
- Identity-Based Resources for Youth
These youth-specific pages include resources, events and workshops for youth. Find information to help support youth, as well as learn more as a community.
- Get involved with the whole congregation.
The Congregational History Sample Project (PDF) offers a sample project that will get youth out into the congregation. Other project ideas for multigenerational projects can be found in Youth Ministry Advising: A Complete Guide and When Youth Lead, both available from the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Bookstore.
Small Group Ministry
Small group ministry gives youth an opportunity to build relationships, explore big questions and interact on a deeper level. The Tapestry of Faith resource Sharing the Journey: Small Group Ministry for Youth will help you get started.
Supporting youth as they transition into young adulthood is an important part of youth ministry. Visit Transitioning From Youth to Young Adulthood for resources and curricula that prepares youth to bridge as well as supports them in their transition.
Overnights and Conferences
Youth conferences, also called "cons," and other overnights are popular ways for youth to bond, explore topics in greater depth than possible during a regular meeting, and share a spiritual experience with youth from other congregations.
- Visit Conference Planning for resources to help you plan a con or overnight.
- Visit Events and Trainings if you are looking for cons or other events to attend.
- Youth Ministry Project Grants
To support local youth-led projects that offer Unitarian Universalist high school-aged youth opportunities to grow in faith, deepen in spirit, develop skills, experience leadership and engage in service and justice work.
- Five Fundraising Ideas (PDF) offers suggestions for youth group fundraising efforts.
- Coming of Age Handbook for Congregations
Coming of Age is a pivotal program and rite of passage for Unitarian Universalist (UU) youth. Coming of Age Handbook for Congregations is the definitive resource for congregations of all sizes and is filled with workshops for youth, small group ministry sessions for parents, social action projects and rites of passage. Field tested by congregations with groups ranging from four to twenty-three participants, this guide will help both congregations and youth to define their beliefs and put their faith into action.
- Our Whole Lives (OWL) for Grades 7-9 and Grades 10-12
Grounded in a wholistic view of sexuality, Our Whole Lives provides not only facts about anatomy and human development, but helps participants to clarify their values, build interpersonal skills, and understand the spiritual, emotional, and social aspects of sexuality. Resources include a book of age-appropriate workshops and an accompanying guide, Sexuality and Our Faith: A Companion to Our Whole Lives, which offers spiritual value components to enrich the Our Whole Lives experience in a faith-based environment.
- Tapestry of Faith
The Unitarian Universalist Association’s new core curriculum includes programs and online resources for youth. Here you will find stories, activities, worship ideas, openings, closings—all in complete and comprehensive curricula that have been intentionally designed to strengthen UU identity.
- Schwendeman, Jill. When Youth Lead: A Guide to Intergenerational Social Justice Ministry. Unitarian Universalist Association, 2007.
- McAdoo, Jennifer and Anne Principe. Journeys of the Spirit: Planning and Leading Mission Trips with Youth. Unitarian Universalist Association, 2010.
- UUA Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries. Youth Ministry Advising: A Complete Guide. Eds. Carey McDonald and Jeremie Bateman. Unitarian Universalist Association, 2012.
- Meacham, Denis. The Addiction Ministry Handbook: A Guide for Faith Communities. Skinner House Books, 2004.
- Forsyth-Vail, Gail and York, Jessica. Bridging: A Handbook for Congregations. Unitarian Universalist Association, 2012.
- Patel, Eboo. Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation. Beacon Press, 2007.