Faith Lab Toolbox: Care Groups

Now is the time to just practice being together again. That's right - make being together the practice. This page contains ways to nurture a community of care (what we call at Faith Lab "Care Groups") with young UUs.

A Care Group is a small group of people who may only have one thing in common who will show up for each other. The topic doesn’t really matter, the content honestly doesn’t even matter. What matters is that members meet regularly and know that if someone ends up in the hospital, or is really struggling, or they’re receiving an achievement award or are making a big transition - the rest of the group will organize to care for them or celebrate with them. Youth groups can be this kind of community of care.

Questions to Ask

Remember your first time in a new group? What made you feel welcome? What made you feel like an outsider? When was a time you really felt like you belonged?

Use the Mattering and Marginality exercise from Harvest the Power, 2nd Edition, a lay leadership development program.

Map of Community Building

Map of Community Building

Introduce youth to the 5 Steps of Community Building from the retro Deep Fun book from 1998 and pick a game that looks doable (focus on accessibility and inclusion). Share the above graphic that departs from the linear model of community building and ask youth where they think they are now and where they want to go.

Invite your group to scheme together to pull a "reverse-prank" - something really kind or caring for another group. Find other ideas in this Care Group Post in Blue Boat Blog.

If the group is meeting in person, consider engaging in a a "welcoming audit" of the meeting location - starting at the point of arrival move through the physical space as if you were a newcomer experiencing it for the first time. What signs of hospitality and welcome do you notice, what's absent? Find other ideas in this Welcoming, Accessibility and Inclusion Post on Blue Boat Blog.

Evolving Faith Lab YouTube Playlist

With each toolbox we'll add videos to the Faith Lab YouTube playlist on care groups, covenant, ritual, cycles of change, grief and lament and UU youth history.

Shareable Images

Even if you're not meeting together in person or online right now, yours can be a ministry of sharing spirit filling content on social media.

Youth and Young Adult Ministries on Instagram

About the Authors

Lifespan Faith Engagement

The Lifespan Faith Engagement office of the UUA puts a justice seeking, radically inclusive faith in action by creating experiences for meaning-making and faithful living, accompanying people to make a home in our faith, and advocating for youth engagement and lifespan faith development.

Aisha Ansano

Rev. Aisha Ansano believes in the spirituality of food, the power of community, and the importance of self-care. She is the affiliated community minister at First Parish in Malden (MA), and a co-founder of the dinner church consultancy Nourish.

Kimberly Quinn Johnson 

Rev. Kimberly Quinn Johnson is minister of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork in Bridgehampton, New York. Among her specialties are antiracism and youth ministry.

Jennica Davis-Hockett

Jennica has worked in UU religious education and youth ministry since 2008....

Cora McCold

Faith Lab

For more information contact .