A number of years ago I worked on the UUA's Youth and Young Adult Sunday campaign. The slogan Alison Miller and I developed was "MIND THE GAP!" It was a reference to the gap in our ministry between our ministry with children and adults. Our Youth and Young Adult ministries have come so far over the past five years, but there is much to do.
I think SMALL GROUP MINISTRY is going to be an essential part of our movement moving forward and addressing the deficiencies in our ministry with UU's of all ages. Personally, I have worked with children, youth, young adults, adults and elders. I've seen small groups and intentional leadership development save lives.
One youth I worked with took two years to open up. One day he shared that our group -- which was structured like a small group ministry session -- was where he felt most himself. He told us and later his parents that his mission in life was to BE like he was in our small group EVERYWHERE in his life. Small groups are the foundation of the relational congregations that our members young and old are hungry for.
THIS YEAR our association is trying to figure out how to strengthen our youth ministry. I think we should use our learnings from our small group ministry movement and apply them to our youth, campus, young adult and adult ministries. When these all come into alignment we will no longer have to worry about MINDING the GAP, we'll have eliminated it all together. There is only a gap when we do different things with each age group. Why not small group ministry with all who have come of age in our congregations.
Obviously I've got a strong opinion. Here's a question for you. DO YOU EVEN CARE? If you do then we've got a great opportunity and a great future ahead of us.
This year ALL of our congregations have been asked to hold a meeting to explore our youth ministry. There are resources being developed to help you do this. I'd like you to print out the following resource and MAKE SURE that someone in your congregation takes responsibility for planning a your conversation. YOU DO NOT have to do this. Just make sure that someone else does.
It is the November issue of the Consultation on Youth Ministry newsletter. It contains the basic info you need to HAND OFF to someone.
THANK YOU in advance for passing this 1 sheet of paper on to a caring and responsible member of your congregation.
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