Project Update: Insights From Our Partner Parishes

Cassie Schutzer
Saturday, February 4, 2023

As we reflect on the last year of ministry with young adults, here are some of the biggest lessons and insights from our partner parishes:

“When it comes to young adults, they are in a variety of lifestyles. Because of this age range, we have everything from single to married, married with and without children, professionals, living on their own, with parents, with roommates, etc. With such a variety, it can be hard to offer something that everyone wants to come to, however, when we incorporate the values of listening, genuine caring, and accompaniment into whatever we do, they respond! This is what we are trying to add in everything that we do: to be truly intentional and authentic with every Young Adult that crosses our path.”

“Young adults need community. Community is something that cannot be reduced to a program or an event. It is personal, and it takes a long time to build. Consistency and trust are key.”

“Sometimes you have to just keep doing the right things and trust that, eventually, the fruit will come (or, perhaps, is already there but just hidden). There were some harder moments this year when we had unusually low attendance at a couple social events in a row and our young adult bible study was floundering, but we took the long view and just kept at it. Not too much later, in walked a couple of young adults ready to dive right in while, at the same time, I discovered an older gentleman was accompanying a young adult and taking him under his wing.”

“We need a core team (leadership team) that represents all stages of young adult ministry, including college age, young parents, career-minded adults, etc. Personal invite is the key to active participation.”

“It is evident that this is a process not a one-and-done situation. As the young adults involved transform and new participants join, the group will need to transform how it ministers to each other and how each individual can be part of the parish life. Like any relationship, it is ever changing, and hopefully all involved are growing in love of God and each other.”

“I think it is important to follow where the spirit leads and not necessarily where logic leads. I’m not implying to abandon reason…but ministry is simply different than other facets of business in that it is led by the spirit. Make efforts to discern where the spirit is leading and be sure to take time to listen to where the spirit is leading…He might surprise you!”

“Steve Angrisano said, ‘We shouldn’t focus on proving we’re worth it to them, but that they’re worth it to us.’ That insight has been important. In some ways, while respecting young adults’ scheduling and personality differences, the more I see them as active parishioners, the better I am at inviting them to the work and joys of parish life.”

Young adults are extremely busy outside the parish with school and work. That is one of the challenges with forming/creating a Core Team [leadership team]. They come to worship and to volunteer in parish ministry. Between those activities, work and school, there is not much time for anything else.”

“The model of small group discipleship over large events/programs seems to be more effective at lasting ministry. Investment in people’s lives, accompaniment, praying together, and doing life outside of the church setting is where we see the greatest response and effective means to share the Gospel. We’ve also learned the importance of equipping and training our leaders with tools they need and helping to build them up as witnesses in the Church. This will be a focus going forward and helping our leaders understand missionary discipleship.”

“It is important that young adults feel like they have something to contribute and can take ownership. Giving them opportunities to serve, whether it be in helping in youth ministry, leading Bible studies, organizing social outings, or participating in community service/volunteer projects seems to give them a sense of purpose.”