Young Adult Ministry Resources

Many resources are available to support you in your young adult ministry work: best practice guides, research, reflections, blogs, and more. We’ve collected some of the best for you here, including the CUC’s Strategies for Congregational Young Adult Ministry with dozens of concrete actions and ideas.

Resources for Developing Young Adult Ministry

  • Top 10 Tips for Welcoming and Including Young Adults: Our top recommendations for creating congregations and communities that are welcoming to young people and better serve the needs of young adults. This is a great place to start!
  • Young Adult Ministry Congregational Self-Assessment – Instructions and Results: Complete the self-assessment, to help your congregation evaluate current strengths and challenges. Discover effective strategies in five stages of young adult ministry: welcoming, inviting, building, deepening, and growing together. At the end of the assessment, you will be given a short description of your “stage” and links to further explore the other stages and possible actions you can take.
  • Strategies for Congregational Young Adult Ministry: A series of four guides developed by the CUC with specific actions and instructions to help congregations take steps toward more vibrant young adult ministry. Each guide includes common challenges congregations face, strategies to try, and resources to explore. If you’ve ever wished that there was a guidebook for this work, read on!
    – Welcome and Outreach:  A guide of specific actions congregations can take to change and improve welcome and greeting, online outreach and help newer young adults feel included from the time they walk in the door.
    – Building Connections: Specific actions congregations can take to improve young adults’ connection to others in their age group, and build relationships with people of all ages through meaningful involvement.
    – Worship and Ministry:  A guide full of ideas to make worship and ministry opportunities more inclusive of young adults, including adding new worship elements, and building connections through small group ministry.
    – Bridging from Youth to Young Adulthood: A guide to help congregations support and accompany youth as they transition into young adulthood through bridging ceremonies and meaningful intergenerational connections. 

Insights About Young Adults and the Millenial Generation

  • 2017 Unitarian Universalist Young Adult Survey Report: Insights and stories from our survey of 50 Canadian Unitarian young adults – from newcomers to life-long UUs. The survey reveals what young adults are seeking in congregations, worship, social justice, and more. A must-read for leaders!
  • Metro Vancouver Gathering Young Adult Panel: Transcript and notes from a 2018 panel of four young adults who share their experiences in Unitarian Universalism and valuable insights on how we can become a more welcoming and inclusive faith community.  
  • How We Gather (pdf): A study by Angie Thurston and Casper ter Kuile on how and where young adults find meaning and community.
  • Something More (pdf): A study by Angie Thurston and Casper ter Kuile on the need for religious innovation to meet the needs of young adults, with 10 case studies of innovative faith communities.
  • Future of Faith: Unitarian Universalism and the Millennial Generation: A video presentation by Carey McDonald, exploring these topics from a US perspective.

Reflections and Blogs

Worship and Small Group Ministry Resources from the UUA

  • WorshipWeb: A treasure trove of prayers, stories, readings, images, sermons, and rituals. You can find information on multicultural and multigenerational worship, suggestions for incorporating music and technology, and much more. Try searching for spiritual themes like “growth” or “young adults,” or for occasions like “life transition”!
  • Multigenerational Worship: Resources and ideas for planning successful, engaging worship services for all ages.
  • Youth Spirituality and Worship: A great collection of ideas, links, and resources for planning worship in a young adult group or in a multigenerational setting, also includes resources for small group ministry.
  • Contemporary Worship: Tips and resources for designing and leading dynamic worship services that appeal to young adults and people of all ages.
  • Music and Dynamic Worship: How to plan worship services that are moving, impactful, and collaborative.
  • Becoming Together (PDF): A small group ministry manual for the book Becoming: A Spiritual Guide for Navigating Adulthood (Skinner House, 2015). Use this guide to plan small group sessions for young adults that address topics like growth and change, identity, roots, family, and love. Includes facilitation tips, suggested readings, and discussion questions.

Books to use for worship:

Recommended Books for Young Adult Ministry

  • Becoming: A Spiritual Guide for Navigating Adulthood, by Kayla Parker (Skinner House, 2015): A wonderful collection of quotes, readings, and reflections by UU young adults that speak to relevant themes. We recommend giving this book to bridging youth as well as young adults. Check out these suggestions for how to use it; it can also be used with Becoming Together (PDF) as a small group guide.
  • Heart to Heart, by Alicia Hawkins and Christine Robinson (Skinner House, 2009): A book of small group ministry resources for fourteen gatherings on topics such as forgiveness, loss, nature, money, and friendship. Includes readings, quotes, reflections and discussion questions. Materials for fourteen more gatherings are in the authors’ follow-up volume Soul to Soul (Skinner House, 2011).
  • Growing Young: Six Essential Strategies to Help Young People Discover and Love Your Church: This text from the Fuller Youth Institute is based on extensive research. It’s from a Christian perspective but has plenty of insight applicable to Unitarian Universalist congregations. Bart Frost, director of the UUA Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries, calls it an incredibly useful tool.