Young Adults in a New Ministry

26 11 2011

BY ERICA BLEVINS NYE, Young Adult Ministries

I’ve worked for Community of Christ for a few years now. I was blessed to serve as a pastor in the Co-Missioned Pastor Initiative, and I recently graduated from Community of Christ Seminary.

Still, my newest assignment makes me nervous. I have agreed to serve as worship coordinator at my congregation. Why would this relatively simple role make me apprehensive?

I moved to the Detroit, Michigan, area about three years ago when I got married. The congregation has welcomed my husband and me warmly, encouraging us to join various ministries. I’ve contributed as much as I can, but travel for World Church often makes me unavailable. In August our worship coordinator, a longtime pillar in the congregation, moved away. I agreed to take the reins.

As I consider this responsibility, I realize my situation is similar for many young adults. Frequent life transitions mean young adults often are still settling into their congregations. University education, new jobs, relationships, and young families not only transplant us, but they can keep us from attending consistently.

Other young adults may still be in their home congregations, but they are viewing church anew as adult participants, rather than youth.

It’s difficult to catch on to the congregation’s unique routines, diverse personalities, sensitive past conflicts, and unsaid expectations that longtime members might take for granted. I want to be careful not to introduce changes that are too disruptive or hurt feelings. I know I’m filling big shoes.

Young adults also typically bring big visions for congregational life. I have my own ideas about how my congregation can enhance our worship and become more young-adult-friendly. But I recognize this will take a lot of work.

Adequate preparation is time-consuming, as is developing relationships to support the members I’ll be working with. I have a full-time job, and my husband and I are expecting our first child in early December.

Will I be able to fulfill this new ministry assignment as well as I wish? And how long can I sustain it?

Some young adults fear if they don’t succeed in their first leadership attempts, they will not receive future opportunities to serve. Though this isn’t the case in my congregation, I still want to retain the members’ confidence.

I’m particularly blessed at my church. My gifted pastor and her counselor have committed to team with me. They take time to explain how things have operated in the past and what I can expect from the congregation. They clarify what is expected of me.

They introduce me to other members and familiarize me with group dynamics. They do more than give me a phone number to call when I have questions; they actively help me get started. And they advocate for me when I’m trying something new. My nervousness about this new ministry role won’t last long.

Are you prepared to do that for a young adult? As experienced or confident as some of us may seem, most of us would benefit from even one or two longtime congregants offering this intentional support. And we would love the friendship.

What young adult can you invite to participate, invest in with encouraging friendship, and team with in ministry?




2 responses

26 11 2011
Terry Flowers

The church needs more young adults who will take on leadership responsibility in the way that Erica feels called to do. I have the priviledge of being personally acquainted with her and feel blessed because of it. Indeed she will be an asset to bringing ministry to many for many years to come.

26 11 2011
Marvin Kleinau

The beauty of this testimony is the genuine desire of someone to serve even though their life is filled with task and responsibilities. If anyone has a right to an excuse not to assume responsibility it would be this young lady. But she refuses to do so because she knows she has both the desire to serve and the skills to do so. And you know what. This is the kind of person that will always be the backbone of the church community. Fifty years from now she will have the same testimony. Glory be.

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