Congregations ready to spark thinking and conversation among young adults and others who might consider a vocation within the ministries of the church have a new tool to help them start talking.
Project Connect has created an assessment tool that helps congregational leaders step outside their usual familiar patterns and
evaluate how their ministries are going with, mainly, 18-30 year old young adults. The assessment weighs 17 factors and provides 12 concrete steps for growing the congregation's work with and among the age group. This tool and other resources are designed to help congregations take on a role of "connector" in enhancing its engagement.
Congregations "often celebrate the presence of active young adults in their ministries, but they don't always know how to initiate conversation and welcome them into leadership" of programs and ministries, says Don Johnson, Executive Director of Project Connect.
The tool, provided by Project Connect, a joint program of three Lutheran seminaries in the Eastern U.S., will initiate an intentional process and empower church leaders to engage young adults and welcome a conversation about church vocations. Project Connect is a web of connections among many and various parts of the church in the East-seminaries, colleges, camps, campus ministries, pastors, lay leaders, congregations, social ministry organizations, volunteer organizations like Lutheran Volunteer Corps and Lutheran Student Movement, and, particularly, young adults-that will work together toward a single, remarkably important goal: to involve young adults in programs and projects and retreats and discussions about how God is calling them to build a life.
Project Connect is a program of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg (Gettysburg, PA), The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia (Philadelphia, PA), and the Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary (Columbia, SC).
A growing collection of opportunities and excellent resources are available at the Project Connect website, www.projectconnect.org , including a distilled list of print materials designed to help answer that question "what should we be doing?" to encourage young adults in congregational life. The list of the top ten resources includes Robert Wuthnow's After the Baby Boomers: How Twenty- and Thirty-Somethings Are Shapeing the Future of American Religion (2007, Princeton University Press) and Jim and Casper Go To Church by Henderson and Mat Casper (2007, BarnaBooks). Project Connect offers a comprehensive listing of retreats, grant opportunities, discernment resources, seminary information and much more.
You can find a link to the "Connecting Young Adults with Ministries" assessment tool on the Home Page of the www.projectconnect.org website.