Young adults are most drawn to faith communities that are welcoming, life-giving, and outward looking.
Parishes that are welcoming tend to have clear ways of receiving new parishioners and visitors with attentiveness and care. What is the first impression people (especially young adults) get when they enter your community?
Young adults long for an “encounter with an event, a person, which gives life a new horizon and a decisive direction” (Pope Benedict). Parishes that help people regularly encounter and rediscover Jesus through engaging liturgies and dynamic prayer programs attract young adults. By inviting young adults to get involved in wider parish initiatives and ministries, these communities become places where young adults are inspired to come, build a home, and set roots.
Young adults are not just looking for belonging; they hunger for genuine communities that help them discover and live out their callings in life. Parishes can help everyone ground their identities in Christ and develop their gifts for service to the greater community. By fostering what Pope Francis calls the “missionary option,” these parishes will cultivate new leadership for the Church of the 21st century.
HOW TO BEGIN
Assess the interest of key players in the parish: pastoral staff, young adults, and various ministry leaders.
- Partner with other ministries and cultural groups on ways to engage young adults.
Consult your Diocesan Young Adult Ministry and Adult Faith Formation personnel.
Plan 2-3 initial programs to draw young adults (i.e. Taizé Prayer, Java-Jazz-and-Jesus, Prayer Concert, Praise and Worship Concert).
Listen to the needs of young adults and young families in the parish (college, single, married, divorced, widowed, LGBT) and explore a vision and ministry structure that fits the mission of the parish.
- Form a task force to develop a potential structure.