Young Adult Ministry
A Place for Developing Friendships, Praying, Getting Help Through Struggles
If you have been at Northland for any length of time, the term young adult ministry may bring back memories of the Young Adult Gathering, Fusion, Revolution, or another college or young adult group that has gathered here. And depending on whom you talk with, a young adult might be someone who is college-age, or in his or her 20s or early 30s. Even those of us over 40 may still feel (or act) like young adults, even though our bodies are probably telling us otherwise.
To talk about today’s young adults requires making generalizations about a generation that is anything but easy to define. Today’s young adults challenge us to be real – honest about who we are and honest with one another. Today’s young adults want to “go deep,” and they want their lives to count. Today’s young adults want to find community with other young adults, but they also understand there is richness in diversity of age, gender, race, culture, ideas and so on. Today’s young adults aren’t just tomorrow’s church; they are an integral part of today’s church, and if we don’t help them find their place here, then we all lose.
Over the last few years, young adults at Northland have gathered more informally, connecting through friendships, small groups or classes for adults of all ages. Then, as Northland defined its new vision statement, “Engaging people to be fully alive in Jesus,” many young and not-so-young adults began to ask, “How do we engage young adults to be fully alive in Jesus?” Out of this conversation, many young adults began to share their desire and need for something more. Some began to meet more formally through home groups or Bible studies.
Then, this May, those who are college-age and in their twenties were invited to come to Northland weekly for dinner, worship, discussion and community. At each gathering, about 40 young adults have met to discuss various topics, such as dealing with the challenges of life, knowing the Bible and understanding how to share their stories. More than 90 people have attended since our first meeting, and we welcome new young adults every week.
We are blessed to hear their stories. One young woman in her 20s, who came for the first time, was filled with joy by the end of the evening and was crying because she was so grateful to find a community that felt like family.
Another young woman, a recent high school graduate, shared how she had never been taught how to study the Bible. After one of our gatherings, where we focused on an overview of the Bible and how to read it, she was so excited to have a starting point that she couldn’t wait to get home to read her Bible.
A young man in his 20s who was new to Northland stepped out of his comfort zone and came to one of the first gatherings. It didn’t take long for him to engage with the people at his table. Afterward he said he would be back, and he has come to every gathering since then.
After a discussion on vulnerability, another young man told us how hard it had been to be “real” with people, but he was relieved to hear he wasn’t alone; his peers felt the same way.
We have seen young adults share their personal stories and their struggles, pray for one another, renew old friendships and make new friends. Some of these young adults have grown up in the church, while others are just starting on their journey of life with Jesus. Most are dealing with heartache or difficult life issues, from wondering, “Who am I?” or “What am I supposed to do with my life?” to experiencing anxiety, depression, and wounds caused by their bad choices or those of others.
As we look toward fall, we envision Northland as a place where young adults feel valued and have opportunities for relationships, discipleship and service. If you’re age 18 through 29, we encourage you to join us Tuesday nights or gather with one of our small groups. If you are young at heart, we welcome your help with providing meals, mentoring and praying for this ministry. You can learn more at NorthlandChurch.net/youngadults. We would love to talk with you about the young adult ministry at Northland and how you can get involved. Contact Liz Gritter at firstname.lastname@example.org or 407-923-2424, or Bethany Durys at email@example.com or 321-222-0823.