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Young Adult Worship

A natural question might be—why a separate Young Adult worship module? Why is Young Adult worship different than, say generic Adult worship? Or why isn't it included in Multigenerational worship?

Good questions. The ideal, of course, if for religious communities to reflect the full lifespan of the human family—"cradle to grave" as it's sometimes expressed. This would mean that children, youth, young adults, older adults, and elders would be part of one lively and enlivening community.

The truth is, though, that the needs of young adults often can create a de facto separation. The life-stage of young adults may mean that they are not attending the regular worship service of a congregation—they might attend the Thursday evening Soulful Sundown service, for instance, or are in a campus ministry group and not a congregation at all. In our efforts to create multigenerational community, it is often this particular age grouping our congregations have the hardest time with. Therefore, learning more about the worship about this particular portion of the multigenerational community can help worship leaders create a truly inclusive and welcoming one.

For these reason, there is this separate Young Adult Worship Module. For information on integrating young adults into a full multigenerationally worshiping community, see our Multigenerational Module.

Examples of Worship

The stereotypic qualities that make youth and young adult worship stand out might include: set in a circle (rather than straight line, forward facing pews), highly participatory, and if there's anything like a sermon to be found it often comes out of the group's own experience in the moment. The following twelve examples demonstrate a variety of approaches, from simple to quite complex, all of which have been created by youth and young adults for other youth and young adults.

Other Resources

Young Adult and Campus Ministry Covenant Group Manual (PDF, 13 pages), by Rob Cavenaugh and Michael Tino, April 2003.
A brief manual that introduces you to the format and possibilities of covenant groups/small group ministry. Includes sections on training leaders and setting up a small group ministry program in your congregation.

Finding Your Path (PDF, 39 pages), by Michael Tino, June 2004.
In Finding Your Path, participants are asked to think about their gifts and values, and to connect those gifts and values to what they do in the world. This curriculum is intended to address the transitions of young adult years and the need for us each to find our calling in life. This curriculum has eleven sessions (including opening and closing sessions).

Popcorn Theology for Mature Audiences: Exploring Theology and Ethics Through R-rated Movies
For this engaging and educational resource, Director of Religious Education Michelle Richards compiled a list of R-rated films and developed activities and discussions to accompany each one. College students, in particular, will find the movies relevant and the discussions thought-provoking. This resource capitalizes on the use of media as a means for entertainment, learning and community-building.

For more information contact youngadults @

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Thursday, January 3, 2013.

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A Passionate Commitment to Young Adults—a Religion for Our Time video
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Rites of Passage, Ways of Being—Part I, by Gregory Boyd, former Director of Young Adult Ministry at the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg, PA; Director of Children's Ministry at the River Road UU Congregation in Bethesda, MD

Jesus: The Jew, the Christian, the Pragmatic Unitarian Universalist, by Gregory Boyd, former Director of Young Adult Ministry at the Unitarian Church of Harrisburg, PA; Director of Children's Ministry at the River Road UU Congregation in Bethesda, MD

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