5 Ways to Support Youth In Your Congregation

Written by Bart Frost // October 1st 2015 // 2014 Youth Ministry Survey, Featured Youth, Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, UUA // no comments


A.K.A. 5 Things Your Congregation Will Thank You For Our survey of 351 Unitarian Universalist (UU) youth provided some real gems and had some real flaws. Here are the five major takeaways we learned: 1. Build Opportunities for Connection This survey shows us that our youth want to be involved in the life of their congregation because they are already invested in their congregation. Think about the times when you feel most welcome in a situation. Did someone invite you to the party, to worship, to a concert? When you showed up, did they ignore you or did they welcome you and engage you in conversation?   Invite your youth to worship! If they can’t make…

How Congregations Can Better Serve Their Youth

Written by Bart Frost // October 1st 2015 // 2014 Youth Ministry Survey, Featured Youth, Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, UUA // no comments


Leads for Keeping Youth in Your Congregation We started asking “How could your church better serve you?” after noting the responses to the magic-wand question were highly aspirational. Because they are qualitative instead of quantitative, measuring these two questions is more difficult than evaluating youth’s favorite part of church. The two most prominent responses were food-based and some form of “[My congregation] can’t because they already serve me well.” Other responses included promoting youth leadership: “It could send a youth leadership newsletter for opportunities such as those mentioned in the meeting at the UUA.” “More opportunity for youth leadership.” “Get the kids more involved in everything and tell us all about what’s going on in the general congregation.”…

What Would You Change with YOUR Magic Wand?

Written by Bart Frost // October 1st 2015 // 2014 Youth Ministry Survey, Featured Youth, Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, UUA // no comments


Youth Perspective on What We Need to Do Better One of the questions we asked the youth who visited the Unitarian Universalist Association UUA was, “If you had a magic wand, what would you change about your church?” This question – although seemingly frivolous – was intended to see what needs youth had that their congregation wasn’t serving. Instead, the responses showed us the aspirational vision our youth have for their congregations. Because of these responses, we added another question: “How could your church better serve you?” We shared the responses to these two questions with the leaders of the youth’s congregations. The “magic wand” questions elicited some fantastically detailed responses from our youth. Their…

Favorite Parts of Church and Why

Written by Bart Frost // October 1st 2015 // 2014 Youth Ministry Survey, Featured Youth, Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, UUA // no comments


Youth’s Favorite Parts of Church As you can see by the chart on the right, there is a very clear winner in terms of what youth enjoy the most about church. 44% of youth prefer youth group over every other aspect of congregational life. This isn’t new information; we’ve known that youth prefer the opportunities for community and connection that youth group provides. We also know that youth group serves young people’s needs regarding identity formation and community participation. Social events, religious education, and coffee hour follow youth group as the most popular activities (15%, 14%, and 11% respectively). These programs serve very similar needs as youth group in meeting the social needs of youth. Religious…

What Youth Do at Church… and Why

Written by Bart Frost // October 1st 2015 // 2014 Youth Ministry Survey, Featured Youth, Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, UUA // no comments


Youth Participation As mentioned in the previous post in this series, this survey has some flaws. The first question we asked was a check-all-that-apply, “When I attend church, I go to…” that had five possible responses: The worship service, Religious Education classes, Youth group, Coming of Age, and Our Whole Lives Because we didn’t define the time period, we don’t know if this comes from the last year, last six months, or just gives a general sense of preferences. It was left to the respondent to decide what church attendance means to them. There is also no qualitative data to back up the data we have. We don’t know why they responded the way they did….

What Do UU Youth Do In Their Congregations?

Written by Bart Frost // September 29th 2015 // Featured Youth, Future of Faith, Guides and Tools, UUA // no comments


 The Results are in! Last year, we asked youth who visited the headquarters of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) in Boston, MA to fill out a brief survey about the ways they were involved in their congregation. 351 middle and high school aged youth filled out the survey answering questions like “What programs do you attend at your congregation?,” “What is your favorite part of church?,” and “If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change about your church?” Introduction The purpose of this survey was to create a small picture of what programs our youth  participate in at our congregations. We asked questions like: Do you attend Sunday morning worship? Coming…

GoldMine: 5 Lessons Learned (By An Adult)

Written by Bart Frost // August 25th 2015 // Events and Opportunities, Featured Youth, Guides and Tools, Stories and Voices, UUA // no comments


THESE FIVE TAKEAWAYS WILL GET YOU MINING FOR GOLD This summer was a busy one for us in the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries at the Unitarian Universalist Association. After General Assembly, I spent a week at Edmonds Unitarian Universalist Church in Edmonds, WA as staff at PNWD GoldMine Youth Leadership School. I was invited to lead workshops about Race, Identity and Oppression for the youth leaders, a section that had not been consistently run in the past. I also assisted in other ways necessary, including leading a credo group. Here are my top takeaways from this experience: 1. Youth want to go deep in to Unitarian Universalism Our youth want to go…

Spotlight: UUs of Wellesley College

Written by Annie Gonzalez Milliken // August 3rd 2015 // Featured Young Adults, Stories and Voices // no comments


Consistency is Key Rosemary Dodd is a student at Wellesley College and was very involved in youth leadership in her Unitarian Universalist(UU) community back home in California. She is part of the UU student group at Wellesley, supported by a UU chaplain, and she can see the difference it makes coming to a school with an active and supported UU group on campus. “I think it helps to keep me balanced and gives me an opportunity to stay connected to my spirituality, especially since being UU has been so key to my identity and focus before Wellesley; it creates some continuity, which so many of my other UU young adult friends have struggled to find.”…

God is Weeping, Screaming, Holding, Calling

Written by Annie Gonzalez Milliken // June 18th 2015 // Issues and Trends, UUA // 2 comments


Yesterday evening a group of people gathered for prayer and Bible study at an African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. These people, part of an historical African-American church in a historic African-American denomination gathered to worship an embodied God who knew suffering. Gathered to worship a divine human who is said to have called out in his anguish “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” This line, in the Gospel of Matthew comes from Psalm 22, a psalm of lament that asks “Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish?” There have been so many cries of anguish this year, this decade, this century,…

Grab the Tsubaki Scholarship 2015 Now!

Written by T. Resnikoff // May 5th 2015 // Events and Opportunities // no comments


A Rare Opportunity for a Unique Theological Experience Unitarian Universalist (UU) seminarians attending non-UU theological schools who have an interest in international or interfaith engagement are invited to apply by May 15, 2015 for an incredible opportunity to spend 2-3 weeks at Tsubaki Grand Shrine (TGS), one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan. Each year one recipient receives a scholarship covering travel, room and boarding expenses for a summer/fall stay at the shrine. The long-standing relationship between Unitarian Universalism and TGS has its roots within the International Association for Religious Freedom. Add you name to those of Ranwa Hammamy: 2014 Recipient, Sarah E. Gillespie: 2013 Recipient, Elizabeth Nguyen: 2012 Recipient, Christian Schmidt: 2011 Recipient –Unitarian…