In early 2008, Justice and Witness Ministries and Local Church Ministries decided in conversation with the Council for Youth and Young Adult Ministries (CYYAM) to conduct an in-depth churchwide assessment of what support would best serve youth and young adult ministries into the future. A summit was held with key Conference staff, CYYAM and other young people. Out of the summit's work, an interim staff person, Kelly Burd, was hired to support the ongoing work of youth and young adult ministries and Thom Chu was contracted as a consultant to carry out the needs assessment to inform a longer term vision and strategy.
In our year-long assessment to shape a comprehensive plan, we:
- Heard from 173 youth and adults at National Youth Event workshops
- Gathered 96 youth, young adults, and adults at four regional focus groups across the UCC
- Convened with 231 additional youth, young adults, and leaders at 14 other events face-to-face, by phone, and online
- Created an online survey that was completed by over 1,000 youth, young adults, and ministry leaders
- Interviewed youth- and young adult-serving staff in conference and association setting
Were guided by a diverse advisory committee of young people and adults from various settings of the church.
Funding for our regional focus groups was supported by a gift from the Ashley Fund in the Minnesota Conference--we are very grateful for that generous gift!
Some dominant priorities and needs emerged from this assessment work with young people and ministry leaders in the UCC. For example, we learned that:
- Youth commonly expressed value and interest in interfaith relationships and education.
- Youth AND young adults placed a high value on:
- Having opportunities to do mission/service work
- Having opportunities to learn about about justice issues and get involved in justice work
- Youth AND Young Adults overwhelmingly stated that the ideal congregation and ministry groups for them are inclusive. They seek a place where “everyone is welcome and accepted.”
- Young adults expressed a yearning for church ministries that appeal to their diverse lifestyles and needs, including but not limited to:
- Support of and communication with those away at college
- Ministries with daycare for those with young children
- Ministries for singles and for couples
- Short-term volunteer and church opportunities for those who cannot make long-term commitments to committees and other volunteer needs
- opportunities to network with young adult peers in the wider church and other local UCC congregations
Top needs among youth and young adult ministry leaders in the UCC include opportunities to network with UCC colleagues and leadership training to help them in their ministries with young people.
Read progress reports about the process:
Read the consultant's Report and Recommendations for Youth and Young Adult Ministries.