Thursday, September 19, 2013

A few "dos" and "don'ts" for young adult ministry

DO invite young professionals to be a part of decision making processes. Their voice is essential to the life of the parish.
DON'T treat them like a token. It denies the rest of their personhood.

DO ask college students and young professionals how they can see themselves involved in parish life.
DON'T just assign them to the young group because "the rest of us just don't understand kids these days." There's a good way around that and it doesn't require a 20something.... get to know the kids yourself!

DO emphasize how important it is for college students and young professionals to be a part of parish life. The more diverse that life is, the healthier and more robust it will be.
DON'T expect that this young demographic will be the salvation of the Church. That job's already raken care of.

I am aware that these suggestions are fairly snarky. But my experience in Church has been one of participation going sour. I have been an acolyte (altar server) since I was little and I have read Scripture in worship and whatnot, but there came a time when my participarion apparently identified me as a young leader... but young leaders were not given credibility. Not many people actually wanted to hear the voice of the younger demographics. And so I became resentful of the people who expected me and my friends to be seen but not heard.

This was a problem for me through college, and now that I've graduated and become a young professional,  with all the burdens therein, I refuse to suffer people who don't take me seriously. This does not mean that I want a hostile takeover of a parish, this means that I want to be a full member of parish life, not labeled as a token "young adult" and be sidelined because the parish doesn't know what to do with me.

I know how I want to serve God and my parish community.  And in the next breath, I will admit my youth and say that my service may change,  but it will be my offering nonetheless and I pray that it will be found worthy in the eyes of God. My prayer is also that the people around me may see it that way, too.

Note: I found this stuck in with other files of mine. It's been complete for a month or more. I'm not entirely sure why I haven't published it.