NCJ Hangout II – Recap

Well the tech gremlins got us this time! We had a wonderful conversation about young adult ministries in NCJ local churches, but both the YouTube and audio-only feeds got scrapped. Below is a brief recap of what we talked about. Please check out Both Emily and Breanna’s ministries and shoot them an email if you have more questions!

TOPIC: Young Adult Ministries In Local Churches

PANEL: Carl Gladstone (moderator), Breanna Dahl (Christian Ed at Monona UMC near Madison, WI), and Emily Jones (Urban Village Church in Chicago, IL)

RECAP: With a first question we explored where we’ve witnessed successful local church young adult ministries recently. Breanna shared about the beginnings of some connections with young adults at Monona UMC and trying to find ways to gather them together. She realized that maybe we should ask whether “gathering them” is a thing we should be focusing in on at all. For her church, they are beyond an immediate proximity to students and other young people living near downtown Madison and so are discerning how to engage a community they may not have existing natural connections with.

Emily shared that the very DNA of Urban Village Church is to be creating church in the very immediate areas where young people are living and working in Chicago.  Because they’ve created a new church around this principle the question of “how do we find some young adults” hasn’t been one they’ve had to ask.  She mentioned that small groups at her church are the primary way that young people are engaged deeply in community.

We moved from there into some conversation about transitions for young people between stages of church participation.  For many of our churches there is a handoff of young people to campus ministries and a hope for a corresponding return once young adults graduate from university.  I shared about our efforts in Detroit to reintegrate our new campus ministry into the lives of covenant partner congregations in the City so that campus doesn’t become an ecclesial ghetto.  We hope to rely on local congregations for deep engagement by the young people who happen to spend a lot of time at class and the student center.  We hope that will be the place they find engaging worship, adoptive grandparents, service opportunities, etc.

Lastly we asked what the United Methodist Church could do to support local church young adult ministries.  Breanna suggested that continued conversations like this one would be a great way to learn from each other and support one another.  Emily recounted how helpful other churches had been in donating the use of their space as Urban Village got underway.  If this generation of young people are to be less focused on the bricks and mortar of the church, then they will thrive when others around the Connection are helping them connect to essential infrastructure.  Emily also reminded us all that one of the most critical infrastructures of any church are the stream of prayers that we all create for one another and she asked for the UMC to continue in its work encouraging prayer support for our common ministries.

NEXT HANGOUT:  Thanks again to Breanna and Emily and please click on their links above to ask them more questions!  Our next NCJ Hangout will happen LIVE at 2pm Eastern, Tuesday, October 2 and we’ll be talking with young people’s ministries leaders who engage youth and young adults through Artistic Witness.  Join us by joining the event at our G+ page!

 

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Carl Thomas Gladstone