Small Group Ministry for Young Adults and Campus Groups

Becoming A Spiritual Guide for Navigating Adulthood

By Kayla Parker
From Skinner House Books

A spiritual companion for young adults and all who live amid transitions and tensions. Dozens of carefully selected readings address themes that are prominent for people in their twenties and early thirties.

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The covenant group/small group ministry model of interactions is a great format for young adult and campus groups. Among other things, covenant groups:

  • Foster relationships within community
  • Offer a spiritual setting for personal growth
  • Allow group members to interact on a meaningful level
  • Let everyone’s voice be heard
  • Provide entries into pastoral care systems for people in need
  • Allow for flexible, open communities of varying size and composition

We hope that you will explore the use of covenant groups within your young adult or campus group, and that the resources we provide will be of help to you.

Free Downloadable Guides for Young Adult and Campus Groups

  • Becoming Together (PDF, 16 pages), by Annie Gonzalez Milliken, January 2017
    This manual is a companion to becoming: A Spiritual Guide for Navigating Adulthood that walks the facilitator through using becoming for small group ministry. It contains 10 sessions with suggested readings, songs and questions. It also begins with a facilitator guide and tips for using the manual.
  • A Call to Faith in Turbulent Times, by Marta Valentín, Spring 2017
    This four session guide, while not designed specifically for young adults, explores important themes that are close to the hearts of many young adults, and uses some readings and materials created by young adults. For those struggling with current political climates and how to move forward, this is a great choice.
  • Young Adult and Campus Ministry Covenant Group Manual (PDF, 13 pages), by Rob Cavenaugh and Michael Tino, April 2003.
    A brief manual that introduces you to the format and possibilities of covenant groups/small group ministry. Includes sections on training leaders and setting up a small group ministry program in your congregation.
  • Finding Your Path (PDF, 39 pages), by Michael Tino, June 2004.
    In Finding Your Path, participants are asked to think about their gifts and values, and to connect those gifts and values to what they do in the world. This curriculum has eleven sessions (including opening and closing sessions) and is intended to address the transitions of young adult years and the need for us each to find our calling in life.
  • 30 Days of Love 2014 YA/CM Guide (PDF, 12 pages), by Annie Gonzalez (Milliken), 2014.
    Curriculum and actions suggestions for how your young adult or campus ministry group can partake in the 30 Days of Love, with one action or small group ministry session for each of the 4 weeks. 30 Days of Love is an initiative of Standing on the Side of Love, an interfaith advocacy campaign sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Association.

Free Online Curriculum and Liturgy Resources

  • Tapestry of Faith is an online portal of curricula for all ages that nurtures Unitarian Universalist identity, spiritual growth, a transforming faith, and vital communities of justice and love. Everything is downloadable, printable and viewable.

    • One campus minister recommends "What We Choose," a curriculum about ethics, as particularly relevant to UU students
  • WorshipWeb is a user-driven resource organized in interconnected modules that contains readings, reflections and even sermons that you can use in creating your own covenant group meeting.
  • Small Group Ministry Network has many free online resources, from how-to guides to curriculum. Some groups have found Co-Founder and Co-Coordinator Mellen Kennedy's models especially helpful.

Small Group Ministry Manuals for Adults

  • Building Your Own Theology is a popular curriculum used successfully in parish-based adult religious education classes and on college campuses alike. This three volume set asserts everyone is a theologian and guides participants through developing personal credos and how these beliefs inform daily living.
  • Soul to Soul is a guide to fourteen 90-minute gatherings (on topics such as addiction, grieving, and personal resilience) that offer new opportunities to explore life issues with others. The easy-to-use format includes an essay, inspiring quotations and thought-provoking exercises for individual reflection and for sharing with others at each gathering - plus helpful advice and suggestions for leaders. (2011)
  • Heart to Heart is a guide to fourteen 90-minute gatherings on topics such as forgiveness, loss, nature, money, and friendship. Heart to Heart offers readings, journaling suggestions, and thought-provoking exercises to help participants prepare for the spiritual practice of sharing in community. Promotes listening rather than back-and-forth discussion. (2009)

Liturgy Resources

Music Resources

  • Singing the Living Tradition Unitarian Universalism's hymnbook, which includes hymns, songs and readings.
  • Singing the Journey: Supplement to Singing the Living Tradition
  • Singing Meditation
    • Singing Meditation: Together in Sound and Silence book
    • Let Joy Fill Your Heart: Songs for Singing Meditation book
    • Songs for Singing Meditation: Let Joy Fill Your Heart CD—not a direct partner with either of the books above, but does contain selections featured or mentioned in them.
  • Jason Shelton, a popular Unitarian Universalist musician, has audio recordings that can be listened to and purchased.

Leadership Ethics

Building Your Own Theology Series

From inSpirit: The UU Book and Gift Shop

Three volume series. 10 sessions per volume.

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