Take the Quiz
The Young Adult Ministry Self-Assessment (PDF) is self-scoring quiz that will ask you to select statements that are most true about your congregation. The scoring section at the end will help you figure out which of five stages your congregation is in as you work toward a stronger young adult ministry. This tool is best used with a group from your congregation but it can also be done by an individual.
Learn the Stages
The stages identified by the model are:
- Welcoming—there are very few young adults and young adult visitors rarely stay
- Inviting—there are some young adults, but they aren’t super involved and there’s no critical mass yet
- Building—there are a good number of young adults and they may have an informal young adult group or simply socialize together at church events
- Deepening—here are many young adults and they are fairly involved in the ministry of the congregation and connected with each other
- Growing Together—young adults are fully integrated into all aspects of congregational life and participate in mixing (multigenerational community) and huddling (peer time) in appropriate ways
Get the Model
This model was created by observing the patterns of growth of various young adult populations and groups within Unitarian Universalist congregations. While recognizing that every group and congregation is different based on local culture and demographics, we believe this model will be useful for folks in many different contexts. The pattern we observed was that congregations with large thriving young adult ministries did innovative ministry and successfully integrated young adults into the larger congregation.
In the lower left-hand corner of the graph are congregations which are traditional in religious practice and are culturally dominated by a single group or generation, often the Baby Boom generation in our congregations. Moving up the axis of innovation are congregations which engage in ministry on college campuses, support independent gatherings of young adults in conferences or retreats, or experiment with new types of worship services in different times and venues. The stages of this model are oriented along the axis of innovation, or welcoming young adults into the heart of traditional congregations. Though the strategies for moving to the next stage are based on becoming more integrated, the final stage suggests a strong increase in innovation.
The model takes a critical mass approach to young adult ministry, and assumes that to sustain a community that is welcoming and valuable to people of any age there must be a fair number of generational peers present. Also, though this model is linear, congregations may move up and down the spectrum as the young adults who are present grow and change. These cycles are normal, and can serve as helpful reminders of how to adapt and revamp a congregation’s approach to ministry with younger generations.