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Unitarian Universalist Congregational Conversations on Youth Ministry Results a.k.a. the Youth Ministry Buzz! What exactly is a “buzz”? a low, vibrating, humming sound, as of bees, machinery, or people talking a rumor or report

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Unitarian UniversalistCongregational Conversations on Youth MinistryResults

a.k.a.

the Youth Ministry Buzz!


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What exactly is a “buzz”?

a low, vibrating, humming sound, as of bees, machinery, or people talking

a rumor or report

This presentation summarizes the results of congregations who had conversations about youth ministry AND returned their report forms.

Other congregations did not return their forms…

…and that is okay!

The best part about UU Conversations on Youth Ministry is the conversation itself.


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Did conversations differ from district to district?

Of course!

Please see the districtfact sheetfor results and quotes from congregations who returned report forms in your district.



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celebrate the buzz!

74 congregations completed report forms and sent them to the Unitarian Universalist Association.

17 districts were represented and 1 region of Canada.


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Key Buzz Areas

Intergenerational Community Relations

Mission, Vision and Priorities

Curriculum, Resources and

Transitional Age Youth

Leadership Development and

Opportunities for Practice

Serving the Spiritual Needs of Youth


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intergenerational community relations

how youth and adults interact in the congregation



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Welcoming Youth in the Congregation

Sixteen percent (16%) of the congregations noted that congregation members were welcoming and supportive of youth.

“inclusive”

“accepting”

“caring”


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Youth space, youth-adult space

  • Almost all of the congregations (97%) who participated had a youth group.

  • Only 18 congregations reported that they had a Youth Adult Committee.

  • intergenerational music and performing arts bring youth and adults together through spirituality and art.


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Friendship is key for youth group success

  • strong bonds among youth in the youth group

  • social aspect of youth group is positive for youth ministry in their congregation


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What is the DistrictBuzz?

Time to reflect!


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Youth-adult partnership

  • How do Youth Adult Committees function in your congregation?

  • What are other ways youth and adults can work together in congregations?

  • What does “youth-adult partnership” mean to your district?


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Factors Discouraging Intergenerational Community


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How bias works in our congregations

ISSUES

  • adults biases about youth

  • youth biases about adults

  • general lack of respect, understanding or acceptance

    STRATEGIES

    Work to change youth and adult attitudes about each other by:

  • Working to eliminate bias.

  • Holding youth-adult forums to discuss intergenerational issues and youth needs.


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Congregations tackle the systems

ISSUE

lack of systems through which youth could be integrated and involved in the community.

STRATEGY

makechanges to the structures of congregational life in order to improve youth ministry.


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Include all ages in logistics

  • Include both youth and adult programming in the scheduling process

  • Improve communication methods within the entire community through:

    • youth announcements

    • community calendar listing of youth group events

    • update youth about congregational business


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Welcoming Congregations

  • Over 80% of congregations who participated were Welcoming Congregations.

  • Many created strategies to improve intergenerational community

    Could there be a relationship?


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Welcoming

Congregation

Process

Transforming

Youth Ministry

Transforming congregations

  • Reducing bias

  • Intergenerational family events

  • Holding forums

  • Outreach to members of a congregation

  • Creating safe space

  • Reducing bias

  • Intergenerational family events

  • Holding forums

  • Outreach to members of a congregation

  • Creating safe space


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What is the DistrictBuzz?

Time to reflect!


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Promoting intergenerational community in congregations

  • What can we learn from the Welcoming Congregation process?

  • What else do we need to learn in order to improve youth ministry?


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mission, vision and priorities

valuing youth ministry


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visionary commitment to youth ministry

  • Commitment of youth and adults = success

    • “shared values”

    • “focus”

  • Lack of a clear vision can impair success

  • Complete a visioning process in congregations


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What is the DistrictBuzz?

Time to reflect!


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One district, one vision, many paths

  • How can congregations share their vision for youth ministry with each other through the district?

  • Is youth ministry a “shared focus” in your congregation?

  • Is involvement in congregational life a priority for youth in your congregation?


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curriculum

how congregations present youth programming


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Ministry to, ministry with

  • Many youth programs are strong

  • Some congregations changed their youth curriculumas a result of their conversation

    • include youth in the curriculum selection

    • youth position on the religious education committee.


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What is the DistrictBuzz?

Time to reflect!


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Does youth ministry = curriculum?

  • In your congregation, what do youth learn about our faith outside the “RE wing” or youth group?

  • What is the relationship between youth ministry and adult education in your congregation?

  • What are the differences between ministry toyouth and ministry with youth?


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resources

volunteers, staff, money,

space and time


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Youth Advisors

Congregations with youth advisors: 61

Congregations with a paid youth advisor: 24

Range of hours a youth advisor worked:

1.5 - 40 hours per week

What is the perspective of youth advisors?

Stay tuned! TheYOUTH ADVISOR SURVEYresults will let their voices be heard!


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Resources for youth

  • Strong adult volunteer base is vital

  • Hire a staff person

    • Advisors

    • Youth ministers

  • Funding is important to successful youth ministry

  • Large and mid-size congregations may be able to allocate more money to youth ministry



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What is the DistrictBuzz?

Time to reflect!


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Resources for youth ministry

  • How can a congregation better support adults who dedicate their time and energy to youth ministry?

  • How can we include more adults in the lives of youth in their congregation?

  • How can we better support youth ministry financially?


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membership policies

how youth join a congregation


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Are youth members?

  • Congregational membership policies impact youth in different ways

    • Age requirements

    • COA requirements

    • Pledging money

    • Voting ability


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What is the DistrictBuzz?

Time to reflect!


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Youth and membership

  • What does membership mean in your congregation?

  • How can districts support active youth membership in congregations?



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Youth leadership

  • leadership development or training opportunities for youth in congregations

  • youth leaders contribute to the success of youth ministry

  • youth empowerment is important to youth ministry’s success

  • connection between youth and social justice


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Opportunities for Practice

  • congregations decided to provide training or workshops for youth leadership development

  • congregation provided opportunities for youth to practice leadership

    • Over a ¼ of congregations decided to include youth on committees

    • Thirteen (13) decided to include a youth on their church board as a result of their conversation


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What is the DistrictBuzz?

Time to reflect!


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Youth leaders in their congregations

  • In your district, what are the obstacles to youth leadership development?

  • How can the district support youth leadership development in congregations?


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serving the spiritual needs of youth


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Spiritual Depth in Our Congregations

  • desire to live out our UU principles

  • community loves and caresabout their youth

  • support of ministersis vital to youth ministry’s success


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Youth and Worship

ISSUE

Some worship services do not engage youth.

STRATEGY

Encourage youth attendance at worship services.


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Youth and Ministers

  • support of ministersis vital to youth ministry’s success

  • increase interaction between the minister and the youth

  • hire a youth minister or include youth ministry in a minister’s job description


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What is the DistrictBuzz?

Time to reflect!


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Youth spirituality

  • What types of spiritual practices engage youth in your congregation?

  • How can district youth ministry support the spiritual needs of youth?



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Anti-oppression in youth ministry

  • Racism and oppression affect youth as well as adults

  • One congregation decided to implement more anti-racism and anti-oppression work as a result of their conversation


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What is the DistrictBuzz?

Time to reflect!


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Congregational anti-oppression

  • Does your congregation have an anti-oppression program?

  • How can UU youth ministry engage congregations in intergenerational anti-racism and anti-oppression work?



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