Young Adult Initiative

The Young Adult Group was busy in 2018, and got a lot of work done as the Group worked towards creating a strong adult presence at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ.  As part of the Young Adult Initiative through the Center for Congregations, the group was directed to hold events designed to get young adults to open up and share their needs, wants, and fears.  Utilizing the information received from young adults at these events can help the Congregation of St. Paul’s identify what St. Paul’s should do to be a place where young adults would want to be.

In 2018, the Young Adult Group hosted a game night with music and a taco bar at Burdette Park as a get together session with young adults who were unchurched.  In another activity, a painting event was held also at Burdette Park.  Young families were the target of this event.

The Young Adult Group presented a sermon titled TBH on April 15th.  The purpose of the sermon was to share anonymously with the Congregation of St. Paul’s exactly what young adults think about St. Paul’s.  Each church service was capped off with an open discussion.  Those discussions yielded much information, but most specifically, all age groups wanted intergenerational activities to help bridge the age gap.  The Young Adult Group hosted several game nights for the Congregation to bring the age groups together, and the game nights were fairly well attended.

Another step in the development of the Group was to engage in pilot events.  A Kindness Campaign was the first such event.  A Community Care Fair offered health information and hygiene products to students and members of the community, and around one hundred people attended!

The Group then capped off the summer with a Summer Social which was a fundraising event for United Caring Services.   The social featured food, games, a pie-in-the-face drawing, bing0, and other activities.  Over $600 was raised for United Caring Services.

The Young Adult Group is looking forward to a fruitful and meaningful 2019.

 

A Brief History on the Beginnings of Our Young Adult Ministry

St. Paul’s received a matching grant from the Center for Congregations to help us establish this important ministry for young adults.  As part of the process, St. Paul’s worked collaboratively with other congregations in Evansville and the State of Indiana to build the foundations of this ministry.  

In September 2017, the Engaging Young Adults Task Force from St. Paul’s went to Indianapolis for a workshop on engaging young adults through storytelling.  This video explains the work that was done at that event, and it relays the thoughts of some of the participants at the workshop.

At the workshop, the importance of story telling and how it can connect people regardless of their age, gender orientation, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious beliefs, and any other potential barrier was revealed. Our Engaging Young Adults Task Force participated in a several story telling activities to help us connect with those around us.  Resources were provided on how to host our own storytelling event to learn about young adults in our area.

Because many young adults avoid “the church” for a long list of reasons, so the Center for Congregations strongly encouraged us to host our storytelling events in a “3rd space”, meaning not in the physical church building itself. This was recommended because we are wanting to meet young adults right where they are in life.  The Engaging Young Adults Task Force decided on hosting our events at a shelter in Burdette Park. We realized young adults with and without children have very different lives and priorities, and we wanted to provide different opportunities for them. On February 16th, we hosted our first event. It was a game night with live music and a taco bar. We had several people attend this event and we had so much fun that we stayed over almost an extra hour playing games and chatting with people. We chose a game night atmosphere because we felt people would be more likely to loosen up and share their stories with us. On February 17th, we hosted our painting event, where participants could paint about things ranging from their core beliefs to their favorite things in life. For this event, we also provided child care for those in need. We thought both of our events went very well and were successful in helping us learn more about the interests and needs of young adults in our community. In addition to that, we got lots of feedback about what we did right and on where we can improve for future events.

On Thursday March 1st, four members of our Engaging Young Adults Task Force attended a meeting to share our findings with other churches in the area who are also interested in getting young adults involved in the church.  We also learned about our next step in this journey.  A big thank you to everyone who has been praying for this new initiative and has been supportive of our efforts.

 — from a report by Lakota IronRope

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