Faith Moves Into the Next Generation
Our religious landscape in the United States is changing, as we’re all well aware. We’ve talked about how Millennials are less religious than other generations in words and in images. We’ve also tossed out some ways to engage this young adult generation. Well the time has come to talk about how the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) is supporting the adaptations that are happening with these changing times. It’s time for Next Generation (NextGen) Ministries.
NextGen Ministries (our working title) is a developing umbrella initiative of the UUA that will help spark new faith communities and congregational ventures to reach younger adults and other groups with high growth potential in Unitarian Universalism. NextGen Ministries projects, will be creative, collaborative, diverse, tech-savvy, mission-focused and action oriented, embodying the spirit of our new ventures in faith. They will be started by individuals and groups both inside congregations and outside congregations. It is a collaborative program supported by Rev. Tandi Rogers, in the Office of Growth Strategies, Rev. Annie Gonzalez in the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Office, and Carey McDonald, the new Outreach Director. Basically, if you’re a UU with a great idea for our faith, we want to help you make it happen!
This program will provide resources and connections for those embarking on bold new Unitarian Universalist projects. Resources will include a discernment guide to help project leaders reflect on the UU values and sustainability of their project, curated management tools to help them take it from concept to reality, case studies so they can learn from others, and seed grants to get them growing. They will also be connected to others via learning circles, volunteer coaches and webinars. NextGen Ministries seeks to partner with groups within and outside of the UUA in order to best serve our innovators. The program is developing in collaboration our partners in districts and regions, who are looking at ways to formally support emerging congregations and UU groups. Over the next year, we look forward to building up the pathways for UU’s all across the country who are boldly living into the future of our shared faith. So stay tuned!
So what does it mean to be a NextGen Ministries project? These endeavors must be grounded in Unitarian Universalism and must feel bold and new to those who are starting them. Maybe you’ve heard of CreateMeaning a virtual spiritual community that also holds local meetings in Colorado, California and Nevada. Or perhaps you read about Beloved Café, whose organizers desired to create a space between work and home with spiritual and community building potential. Possibly you’re dreaming of innovative interfaith campus ministry or a spiritual living community for young adults. These are all examples of the types of projects NextGen Ministries will support.
NextGen Ministries will launch in the fall when we start accepting registered projects. If you’ve been ruminating on such a project or know someone else who has, be in touch with Annie Gonzalez at firstname.lastname@example.org and keep an eye out for more information about NextGen Ministries!