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Young Adult Ministry for Congregations

Welcoming and Supporting Young Adults

Ensuring young adults feel welcome and know they have a place in your congregation is a first step to making our faith communities open to different generations and cultures.

  • Young Adult Ministry Self-Assessment for Congregations
    Answer a few questions to find out where your congregation is in the five stages of Young Adult Ministry and get resources that meet your needs.
  • Coffee Hour Caution (PDF)
    Post this flyer of tips for creating a welcoming space for young adults at Sunday coffee hour.
  • Spotlight Series 
    This blog series highlights UU congregations and communities that are doing interesting or effective ministry with young adults.
  • Support for Young Adults of Color
    Check out these resources for both youth and young adults of color.
  • Top Ten Suggestions for Supporting Young Adults (PDF)
    Be a supportive congregation for your young adults.
  • Emerging Adult Ministry: Spheres of Engagement (PDF)
    Find out how your congregation, regardless of size or budget, can participate in supporting emerging adults (ages 18-24) who are often in need of a UU supportive community but less likely to be reached by our traditional congregations.
  • Bridging: Transitioning from Youth to Young Adulthood
    Support your congregation's youth through their transition into young adulthood (called "bridging"). Find books, avenues for connections, and materials that will help our churches stay connected with our youth.

    • Top Pick: Bridging: A Handbook for Congregations
  • Online Communications
    Your online presence is your front door to the world. Having a friendly and informational website and Facebook page are essential for communicating that young adults are welcome at your congregation, but they are only the beginning. Review these materials and advice from the UUA on the following social media and technologies for congregations and groups.

Young Adults and the Future of Our Faith

Young adults are a core part of our multigenerational ministry as Unitarian Universalists (UUs), and are also on the leading edge of religious changes in the United States. Educate yourself on national trends to see the big picture of why young adult ministry is so critically important.

Congregations and Beyond—Noting the growing numbers of people who are “spiritual but not religious” or who identify as Unitarian Universalist but do not participate in a congregation, UUA President Peter Morales launched the Congregations and Beyond initiative to help UU congregations and groups develop capacities and position themselves to respond to the changing nature of religion in contemporary society by shifting and broadening the way in which we view our faith and our ministries.

Future of Faith blog series—This blog series from 2015 by Outreach Director Carey McDonald explores the millennial generation as it relates to faith communities and what that means for Unitarian Universalism

Further Reading

  • Howe, Neil and Strauss, William. Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation. Vintage Books, 2000.
  • Merritt, Carol Howard. Tribal Church: Ministering to the Missing Generation. Herndon: The Alban Institute, 2007.
  • Parks, Sharon Daloz. Big Questions, Worthy Dreams: Mentoring Young Adults in Their Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Faith. Jossey-Bass, 2000.
  • Bowers, Laurene Beth. Designing Contemporary Congregations [out of print]: How to Attract Those Under 50. Pilgrim Press, 2008.
  • Faith Formation 2020
    A well-respected group that helps Christian churches and their leaders imagine new directions for faith formation and designing 21st century innovations for their programs and ministries.
  • Pew Forum US Religious Landscape Survey
    This report offers the authoritative data on trends in American religious life and participation.


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