Young Adult Ministry
Young Adults from your congregation go out into the world each year, and often it's a new, strange city. After you have poured so much into them, how will you equip them for connecting with a Christian community in their next life-phase?
Going to college, technical school, or any higher educational opportunity brings significant change to a young person's life. Students often leave the communities where they have grown up, breaking the bonds with their local church. Finding a new church home that is a good fit can be difficult. It is often easier to simply drop out of church.
Dakotas Conference churches can help young people maintain their connection to God and a faith community. Home church members can encourage students to maintain and grow in their relationship with God, as well as succeed in their studies.
As young adults venture off to school, we want them to remember their church family at their local UMC and pray for each of them. Start a young adult ministry program that makes a connection through personal notes, care packages, phone calls, prayer, and more. Invite them to "follow" your church's social media (facebook, etc.) page so they receive updates about your church's activites.
Encourage young adults to establish a spiritual "home base" where they can connect with other students who share their faith and religious background. Find a list of churches and contacts for higher education institutions throughout North and South Dakota here.
If you live in a community that is home to one of the higher education learning institutions, start or strengthen a campus ministry like the United Methodist congregations in Madison and Spearfish. Apply for a Culture of Call grant or Young Adult Ministry grant. Applications are due July 31.
Pastor Andrew Gross, who serves at The United Methodist Church in Madison, South Dakota, spends time on the Dakota State University campus working with Campus Crusude, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the football and track teams. He holds small groups, one-on-one sessions, organizes service projects, and worship. Read more about this ministry and watch a video they made here.
Spearfish UMC is creating a culture of call to foster how God calls each and everyone. The culture of call at the church has evolved by providing direct support to students in seminary, reaching out to young adults, developing leadership in the youth program and continually welcoming and inviting everyone.
“Spearfish accepts this responsibility because we can. We have been blessed and surrounded by excellent school systems at all levels, preschools through university. Our congregation understands college students because of our connection to Black Hills State University (BHSU) just blocks away. Our goal is always to connect students into the life of a vibrant, local church. We can do all of this, so we choose to do all of this," said Rev. Scott McKirdy, Spearfish UMC. Read more about Spearfish UMC here.
Scott and his wife, Colleen, also open up their home on Sunday evenings for college students to enjoy a home-cooked meal and a space to talk about their faith journey. He provides guidance and support over cups of coffee and is always praying and intentional about looking for that next opportunity to serve, to raise up, to mentor, to grow more disciples. Read more here.
Here are some ways for the local church to keep connected with the young adults headed off to an institution of higher learning:
13 ways to stay connected with college students
6 fun, non-worship ways to reach youth and college students
Collegiate Ministry Finder from the UM Global Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM)