Engaging young adults is a priority for almost every parish I work with to create a Parish Vision Plan. A consistent thought about young adult ministry is that “it’s slippery.” It seems to be one of the hardest ministry to start, develop, grow, and sustain.
To offer some insights about a successful young adult ministry, I wanted to share this article about “City on a Hill” – a young adult ministry in Kansas City. The article outlines the six factors the author believes makes this ministry very successful.
Some insights I offer to parishes are as follows:
First, ask the young adults in your area what they’re looking for and encourage them to get involved in whatever ministry, program, activity, or gathering you develop. Don’t assume their needs or wants based on what you think “Millennials or Gen Z are thinking.”
Second, partner with other parishes to create a program. One, almost universal, truth is that young adults flow between parishes depending on their needs at the time. You’ll be able to grow a stronger program if you’ve partnered with the parishes in your area rather than competing with them (you already know how I feel about Catholic Church competition).
Third, be prepared for the ministry to be fluid. This is not a “set it and forget it” type of ministry. The needs change on a regular basis and so do the participants. There isn’t a simple five step program that they graduate from, instead it’s a process for discernment and discipleship.
If you have a successful ministry, what’s worked? If you’ve been struggling, what’s your biggest struggle? Let’s partner together!