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….

Lessons From NOLA

Written by T. Resnikoff // September 30th 2015 // Featured Youth, Issues and Trends, Stories and Voices, youth // no comments


Annie Hanley-Miller reports from the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice (UUCSJ) Activate New Orleans program– Ed.   Building Community Overcomes Difference by Annie Hanley–Miller I brought back many things to my home community from my experience at Activate NOLA. It was an intense week and I learned a lot about race, poverty, Hurricane Katrina, and global warming. I also learned a lot about forming and being in community. During the week, I talked with so many unique people who all helped me to gain new perspectives on all kinds of things. It was interesting to meet both people from the New Orleans area and from around the country. The lectures on racism, poverty, Hurricane Katrina,…

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…

Reflections in Shade of the US-Mexico Border Wall

Written by T. Resnikoff // September 28th 2015 // Featured Youth, Social Justice, Stories and Voices, youth // no comments


“What do you do when you come head to head with the very evil you are working against?” Jack Spector-Bishop reports from the Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice (UUCSJ) Activate Southwest Border program– Ed. “The ants crawl under it, the birds fly around it, the sky connects over it.” This is what I wrote in my journal while I sat in the shade of the US-Mexico border wall, near Douglas, Arizona. The wall loomed behind me, constructed of massive, two story high rusty metal beams and stretching as far as I could see. Poles with floodlights and cameras were everywhere, along with trenches, barbed wire, and fences. All of it seemed so arbitrary. It…

Announcing Youth Caucus 2016 Deans

Written by jennicadavishockett // September 28th 2015 // Events and Opportunities, Featured Youth, GA, UUA, youth // no comments


At the time this post was published, there were a mere 270 days before thousands of Unitarian Universalists would gather from around the nation to learn, worship and do business together at General Assembly 2016 in Columbus, OH. This year’s Sr. Dean, Andrea Briscoe, and Jr. Dean Eric Broner will be spending each of those days joyously laboring over creating the best Youth Caucus experience yet. Please give them a hearty welcome! Bio: My name is Andrea Briscoe and I live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I’m 16 and currently a junior in high school.  UU profile: I’m a member of Main Line Unitarian Church where I served on the Board of Trustees as the youth…

GA 2015 Youth Caucus: “WE Are the Revolution”

Written by T. Resnikoff // September 15th 2015 // Featured Youth, GA, Stories and Voices, UUA // no comments


TODAY   Youth Caucus attendees Collen Lee & Phoebe Mussman share this reflection of  their experience attending General Assembly 2015. – Ed.   By: Colleen Lee & Phoebe Mussman       Today. Today, 5,000 hearts beat faster. Hues of blue, green, and every shade of the rainbow proudly glow. Today, we are encompassed by the colorful and comforting aura that the world is better than it was yesterday. Today, on June 26, the United States Supreme Court ruled that gay marriage is legal in this nation. In an auditorium packed with overjoyed Unitarian Universalists of all ages, the celebration and contagious energy assures us this is one of the best days we’ve experienced. This…