Too often we think of young adults as students—in both the formal sense of those pursuing higher education in colleges and graduate schools and in the sense that within our faith communities young adults are seen as seekers and questioners. They are the group struggling for knowledge, questing after a religious tradition to call home, and in search of mentors and ministers to guide them through this stage of their life journey. In this classic image of the young seeker, we forget that those who ask questions can also be teachers; those who wear their personal doubts on the surface are no less capable of being mentors; and that disciples do not simply follow but are fishers and ministers of people.
When a young person is called to ordained ministry, these assumptions present particular challenges. While the relationship between any congregation and its minister should be one of mutual ministry and care, this reciprocity is thrown into relief and can become a point of tension when the minister is seen as young and inexperienced. Finding colleagues and mentors can be difficult for young clergy, who rarely find themselves working in the same communities. Some find other clergy in the area to turn to for support, but often communication is difficult as the "old" ways of doing things don't always fit with the needs, life experiences and theology of younger clergy, who have grown up and been educated in a postmodern culture. As in the parable, they are new wine that must be poured into new wineskins.
This page is a space for young adult clergy to find and share resources and ideas and to network with other young adult clergy, fostering an online community for spiritual renewal and professional and personal support.
UCC Ministry Resources
The UCC Ministers' Page has links to worship and lectionary resources, the Manual on Ministry, the Pension boards website and access to software for those participating in the search and call process. Check out the worship page for additional ideas. For a directory of regional resource centers, click here.
Reflections of Young Adult Clergy
The Rev. Todd Yonkman writes about working to get out of "the box" that older, established churches often find themselves in, trapped between their traditions and their desire for growth. Read his reflections on being a young pastor facing down "the box" here.
Below are some more resources for young adult clergy.
Christ Clarion Fellowship is an ecumenical organization of under-35 clergy from mainline Protestant denominations. Don't miss the featured article from the Alban Institute on the struggles of young adult clergy! Click here for a direct link.