Get on the Young Adult Roadshow!
Ohio-Meadville District Gets Young Adult Ministry on the Road
By Jeremy Holmes
On the last weekend of March, the Ohio-Meadville District’s Young Adult Ministry Team held the first of what we hope will be several workshops on how to more deeply engage younger people in Unitarian Universalist congregations. Over a year of brainstorming and planning went into putting this workshop, or “Roadshow”, as we called it, together. Our goal was to get people from different congregations together with our Young Adult Ministry team to discuss and develop ways in which we could improve our ministry to, with, and for young adults in our congregations.
Due to the large number of churches in the area, we decided to do our first Roadshow in the Cleveland Cluster. The Roadshow consisted of two components; a workshop from 10am to 5pm on Saturday and a Sunday morning worship service followed by a discussion session. We had 20 participants from nine different congregations attend the Saturday workshop, with a few driving more than two hours to get there! We were very happy to have such a good group of dedicated people join us. The day was spent worshiping together, breaking off into small groups to answer and discuss a questionnaire about young adult ministry in our own congregations, and having large-group discussions about what our congregations are currently doing well to support young adults. We also dedicated a portion of the workshop to brainstorming ideas how we could better offer programming that would speak to young adults in more accessible ways and how to create the type of community where they would feel welcomed and valued. We hope that the participants are able to take these suggestions back to their home congregations.
In the afternoon, everyone worked together to create a worship service to be held at another area congregation the following morning on the subject of young adult ministry and the Roadshow. After the Sunday morning service, those who planned and participated in it sat down with members of that congregation to talk about their thoughts on the service and to answer questions they may have regarding our thoughts on young adult ministry.
Thanks to a grant from the UUA’s office of Youth and Young Adult ministries, we were able to hire someone to film the whole event on Saturday and Sunday and produce a video we can share with other districts so they can see what we are trying to do and hopefully get some ideas for how to improve young adult ministry in their districts and congregations.
Jeremy Holmes is 30-years-old and a member of the First Unitarian Church of Cleveland, where he advises the youth group. He is also a Co-Chair for the Ohio-Meadville District Young Adult Network. Jeremy works as a Community Employment Specialist for the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities.