Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Finding the Young Adults in the Church (hint: we’re right here)

By Lauren Woody

As the Diocesan Coordinator for Young Adult Ministries in the Diocese of Atlanta, I advocate for a group (young adults) that I think is largely forgotten and misunderstood in the church world. As youth we are put out in the spotlight and then just expected to quietly integrate into becoming an “adult” member of the parish as soon as we turn 18. I think that this is one of the biggest mistakes the church is currently making. We’re not given the skills or support to accomplish this goal and then people wonder why we aren’t filling the pews every Sunday. Many of us are leaving the Episcopal Church for other denominations or non-denominational churches because it seems like they are the ones equipping people in their twenties to become vital parts of the church body.

I think we can start doing something about that in our church by educating people as to what defines a young adult. And how do we do that Lauren? We give them the opportunity to be in front of people the way the youth are. We are often lumped in with youth in ways that make it hard to define our identity. But we aren’t youth. We’re out in the real world trying to decide how we will survive the next 80-something years.

Let us stand up and tell you who we are. Allow us to tell you how we are different and why we can’t be lumped together. Let us tell you why we are lost and why we need you to mentor us in the ways of being an adult. It might seem scary, but it isn’t hard. All you have to do is approach a young adult and say hello and how are you, we will do the rest. We’re ready to speak, but unsure of how to ask for that right because we are out of the spotlight. Please don’t forget us.

Lauren Woody is from the Diocese of Atlanta.

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