Unitarian Universalist Youth Ministry is Exceptional
AND HERE IS WHY –
In this excerpt from his post, James Griner Interim Youth Ministry Specialist of the Unitarian Universalist Pacific Western Region shares why he believes Unitarian Universalist youth ministry is worth quitting his job over, and the importance of youth ministry to the continuing relevance of Unitarian Universalism. -Ed.
Why UU youth programming is vital and needs your support.
Three months ago, I decided to leave my job of eight years to work with Unitarian Universalism youth programming. Friends and family wondered aloud: why leave a stable job with solid benefits and ample resources? In the end, the primary reason impelling this decision: I believe in the possibilities, potential, and necessity of UU youth programming now and moving forward. I write here today to make the case of why Unitarian Universalist youth programming is a necessity and why we need your support.
When I say necessity, I mean it is needed and vital right now. The world is complex and ever-changing. Admittedly, even for me, it can seem overwhelming. Technology and globalization continue to forge intersections between cultures, religions, and nationalities sparking tensions around identity, fairness, income and resource distribution. Communication moves faster while boundaries between private and public are blurred. The barrage of messages competing for your time, resources, and money is ceaseless with creatively constructed messages emphasizing the allure of beauty, power, and status. Add in the plethora of stories involving violence – Columbine, Chicago, Virginia Tech, Northern Illinois, Sandy Hook, London bombings, Boston Marathon, and 9/11, navigating this terrain is difficult for adults let alone still-developing minds of youth. (I expand on this in a meditation I offered in November to my local congregation in Salt Lake – click here to watch the video).
Embedded within this terrain are three observations, truths from my experience, guiding my philosophy in working with youth. Humans have a basic need for understanding the world around them. The world is complex. The need for belonging and contributing to something is strong and serves as a primary motivator for people to act.
These three truths are also why I believe UU youth programming is well-positioned to build future UUs and be a model in developing future leaders of our various communities of tomorrow.