Howdy Y’ALL

{This post is part of an ongoing series of my Ministry Experiences in Upstate NY Synod}

Y’ALL stands for Young Adult Lutheran Leaders/Links.  Basically it is ministry of the Upstate NY Synod which meets for one retreat a year geared toward young adults throughout the Synod.  I have been involved with the program for two years, last year as an assistant and this year as the group leader.  I have enjoyed my time with Y’ALL thus far and I am excited for what this ministry has in store moving forward.

Up to this point the gathering for Y’ALL meets at the same time as the Synod Assembly.  The participants gather on Friday and spend time together throughout the weekend and then join in with the assembly participants on Sunday evening and continue with the assembly until everyone leaves on Tuesday.  This is not too bad, but many young adults starting out in their jobs and might not be able to get off of work during the week.  This creates a problem for those who want to participate but can’t.

This year we gathered together on Friday night.  As the participants arrived we gathered together and got to know one another.  Then we planned out our meals for the weekend and a few people from the group went grocery shopping.  Cooking meals together is a very fun.  It is also very interesting to spend time cooking for a bunch of people using only a microwave.

Saturday we spent a lot of time going over the theme of the weekend.  This year’s theme was “The intersection of Faith and Life.”  I prepared a few hours of group discussion, however other topics came up as well.  We covered everything from the 10 commandments, to tithing, to Rob Bell’s new book Love Wins.  It was a great conversation and I am blessed to have had it.

Saturday night we prepared dinner for the Bishop of the Synod.  Last year we started the tradition of cooking her a nice dinner instead of using the hotel’s box lunch.  That was nice but this year we stepped it up a little bit more.  We had chicken (pre-cooked), stuffing, corn on the cob, salad, sparkling grape juice, and chocolate and strawberry’s for dessert.  After dinner we had a discussion with the Bishop asking her questions about life, ministry and alien attacks (you had to be there).

Sunday we worshiped at a local congregation and then come back to help set up the assembly.   Unloading the synod’s truck with equipment and registration is just a little way that we give back.

This is the basic model which we have established for the retreat and majority of it is based off of the model set up for the youth convocation.  From my understanding the Y’ALL group grew out of a need that convo kids wanted a way to continue to connect at the assembly so they created Y’ALL.  What I am hearing from the participants and other young adults throughout the synod is that the current model is not conducive to what they need and what they are looking for.  Life gets in the way of their participation, and so the group continues to get smaller and smaller.  My hope is to think about what needs to be changed, to generate ideas through conversations with pastors throughout the synod as well as young adults throughout the synod.  I want to see what the needs are and then design the program to meet the needs.

How do you create ministry for young adults in your local area?

If you are a young adult what can the church do to help you fulfill your spiritual needs?

Other ideas?

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