Engaging Young Adults Initiative

Helping you connect with young adults
Engaging young adults is significant in our culture and a priority for congregations. Many Indiana congregations are grappling with how to include and engage this generation.

The Center for Congregations is pleased to launch a special Engaging Young Adults (EYA) initiative to help you strengthen your congregation’s efforts to engage young adults in your faith community. This initiative is for congregations beyond the Indianapolis metro area.

The current generation of young adults is large and far from homogeneous, and congregational settings vary widely across Indiana – urban, rural, small town. So there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. The EYA initiative will help you engage young adults in your own community and context.

Two phases of the initiative
Education is the first phase. In the winter and spring of 2017, you can attend workshops and live online learning events to gather information from current research and expertise, as well as from congregations effectively engaging young adults. You will also identify your congregation's strengths and passions for this ministry.

The second phase, learning communities, will bring together selected Indiana congregations in regional groups to support one another in learning from young adults and experimenting with young adult ministries. This phase of the initiative is limited to approximately 36 congregations from beyond the Indianapolis metro area, selected by application. A similar opportunity for congregations in metro Indianapolis will be offered at a later date.

Participation in the educational phase is not required for application for the learning community phase. However, participation in some part of the education phase is intended to help congregations determine their interest in applying and identify ways their congregation might benefit.

Phase 1 education opportunities began in January 2017 and included the past workshops Congregations Connecting with Young Adults, Growing Young, Community and Digital Ministry in the 21st Century and the live online workshop How Indiana Congregations are Engaging Young Adults. Registration is still available for Millennials and Social Movements.

Helpful resources include the Center for Congregations publication Engaging Young Adults, the FACT Report Engaging Young Adults, the book Growing Young and this Growing Young Research Overview. There are also a number of excellent resources at the Congregational Resource Guide (CRG). Search Young Adults.

On-demand learning
There is also an on-demand learning opportunity available. We interviewed Rev Dr Kristina Lizardy-Hajbi, the author of the Faith Communities Today (FACT) report on research into congregations effectively engaging young adults.

You can access this on-demand course at any time. It is broken into several 5-8 minute segments, totaling about one hour. There is an accompanying worksheet that contains reflection questions. You can begin at any time, and you can stop and come back to it as often as you like.

There is no charge for the course, but you do need to register here:

Engaging Young Adults Learning Community
In May 2017, applications for phase 2 will be available for Indiana congregations beyond the metro Indianapolis area (click for list of eligible counties) to apply for participation in the Engaging Young Adults learning community. If your congregation is selected for this program, you will meet with others in regional learning communities in 2018 and 2019. During that time, you will have the opportunity to access special grant funds to assist your team in learning from the young adults in your community and developing congregational ministries to better engage young adults. Full learning community program information and application materials will be available on May 1, 2017.

Information sessions
Information sessions about this opportunity are being held around the state May 4-17. An informational on-demand video, together with the program application, will be available on May 1.

Information sessions are:

        11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Eastern time) Thursday, May 4, 2017 at First Presbyterian Church in Elkhart
        11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Eastern time) is Friday, May 5, 2017 at The Sol Center in Indianapolis
        11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Eastern time) Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at  Ogilville Christian Church in Columbus
        11 a.m.-1 p.m. (Central time) Wednesday, May 17, 2017 at Methodist Temple in Evansville

The sessions are free, but registration is required. Sessions include lunch and materials.

By attending an information session or viewing the on-demand video, you will gather details about the EYA learning communities and the application process.

For more information, email wmccormick@centerforcongregations.org or contact your regional Center for Congregations office.