Our congregations has been listening to young adults this fall, discovering their needs and interests. We’ve done this through surveys, one on one interviews, and a gathering of young adults at Roberts Park. We surveyed Shalom Daycare parents, young adults at Trunk or Treat, our neighbors, coworkers, family, and friends. Here’s a quick look at the top expressed needs and interests.
Survey Results (nearly 200 surveys completed)
1. Work/Life Balance (Time) 16%
2. Family/Parenting 16%
3. Depression/Mental Health 7%
4. Relationships/Friends 7%
Interview Results (24 one to one interviews)
1. Social Opportunities
2. Open and Affirming to All Persons (LGBTQi+ and interracial)
3. Personal Finance
4. Vocation/Career Direction/Work and Life Balance
5. Community Outreach/Service Projects
A small group of young adults at Roberts Park got together to share in conversation. They love Roberts Park because of our openness to all people, especially those who are LGBTQi+ and interracial couples. They value diversity. They appreciate our music ministry, relevant messages, and community outreach to the homeless.They are very interested in social and volunteer opportunities with other young adults.
One area, however, where we could use some caution is “pouncing” on young adults to take on additional volunteer projects. Some have experienced resistance to new ideas and ways of doing things from Roberts Park members. One shared that “Sometimes it feels like my voice doesn’t matter.” We’ll need to work on listening to and valuing what our younger members and friends have to say, as well as be sensitive to the many demands on their time and energy.
Engaging young adults isn’t about what our congregation we can receive. It’s not about getting new members to volunteer. While we’d all enjoy more volunteers and a growing, vibrant congregational life, what engaging young adults is really about is sharing the beloved community of Jesus Christ with our neighbors. It’s about giving. Our listening efforts are about identifying young adult needs and interests that Roberts Park may be gifted to meet. It will take everyone’s effort to pray, reach out, listen, and lovingly serve, if Roberts Park is to bless our young adult neighbors. I am trusting that you are praying and joining in this important effort. You are making a difference!