Congregating the Young Adults

2 Aug
Recently I moved from a campus ministry role to my first pastoral appointment. As I prepared to leave and during the first few weeks, I pondered how the church already is reaching young people, and how I, with the community of faith, might envision further ways to connect with young, particularly college-age, adults.
I shared communion with a young woman who is anticipating her first year at college but may be unable due to health concerns. In this moment, I became poignantly aware of the need to be in ministry with young people who will or cannot attend school for a variety of reasons. When I served at a campus ministry in Georgia, there were a number of undocumented students facing financial stress and academic uncertainty. Students pursue technical training or work experience in lieu of or during college. Others care for aging or ill relatives or even their own health concerns that keep them from the college experience.
Whatever the reason, be it intentional or circumstantial, there are “college-age” people in our communities who will not take the traditional route. While most of you are chaplains and campus ministers serving staff, faculty and students with unique needs, how might we address the common concerns of young people, in and out of school, and minister with them at all stages and seasons of life? How might the local church provide for non-students the kind of formational and foundational experiences made so readily available in college? Can we create relational bridges and healthy avenues of ministry to connect students and non-students?
I hope as pastors and leaders in ministry we practice attentiveness to young adults and issues touching their lives (both individually and in current events); pray for and with young people; and identify ways God might be calling both campus ministries and local churches to involve students and non-students. I would love to hear how your ministries involve young people and the challenges and joys of integrating students and non-students.
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Meghan Roth is the campus coordinator for the Wesley Fellowship at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, GA. A recent graduate from Wesley Theological Seminary, she also has served as an intern with the campus ministries at Shenandoah University (Winchester, VA) and The American University (Washington, DC). She is a certified candidate for ordained ministry as an elder in the United Methodist Church.
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2 Responses to “Congregating the Young Adults”

  1. Laura Patterson August 13, 2012 at 7:06 am #

    Hi Sarah,
    I’m a UM college-age minister in MO, where campus ministry only exists as “college-age” ministry. Across our conference we seek to engage the age-range rather than the campus specifically. Not surprisingly, everyone’s ministry looks different! I’d love to talk to you more about how you’re transitioning from college ministry to congregational ministry. I think my email should be attached to this comment.

  2. Nan Williams August 21, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    Hi Sarah,
    We’ve identified this issue, too. We are the “home church” for our congregation’s college students. Our congregation’s CollegeCARE Ministries seeks to nurture college students and their families, or so I have defined it so far. When we started, we did not add those going off to the military, but in year 2 we thought maybe we should reconsider. This year, we have a family in which one son has graduated from high school and is going into the military and another son who was attending community college locally has chosen barber college. Also, we recognize that we have an increasing number of students attending community college locally. I’m interested in this thread of thought.

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