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The Big Picture of Youth Ministry

The many ways that Unitarian Universalist high school students connect with their faith.

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Transcript of The Big Picture of Youth Ministry

Youth Ministry
The environments in which Unitarian Universalist
high school students experience our faith


The Wider Faith
Service & Social Justice
For Adults
Healthy multigenerational relationships are vital in youth ministry
Rites of Passage
Multigenerational Community
Youth Community
participate in meaningful hands-on service, while learning about specific ways to support local communities in their justice work.
Stay Connected
UU Youth Ministry Page
Faith Development
Tapestry of Faith
- uua.org/tapestry/youth
Embodying lifespan faith development for our congregations, Tapestry of Faith is a collection of curricula and resources that nurture Unitarian Universalist identity, spiritual growth, a transforming faith, and vital communities of justice and love.

And don't forget small group ministry!
= Resource from the Unitarian Universalist Association
*What is this?
Based on the 21st Century Faith Formation model of resource networks, this tool maps out the major areas of religious participation for Unitarian Universalist youth in our congregations and faith communities. Though such a tool can never be comprehensive, it is intended to illustrate how many wonderful ways there are to be connected and supported as a UU high school student.
Created by the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Office of the Unitarian Universalist Association
Exploring their faith, history, religious community and personal beliefs through workshops, service, mentorship and spiritual discernment, this program is the gateway for UU youth out of childhood and into the world beyond (8th or 9th grade).
Coming of Age
Our Whole Lives
"This I believe..."
Youth Conferences

General Assembly
A lifespan sexuality education program for youth that models and teaches caring, compassion, respect, and justice.

the 7-9 grade program is the flagship program, and the most common for UU's to experience, 10-12 OWL is a great way to keep high schoolers engaged.
Identity Development for LGBTQ+ Youth
Dwight Brown Leadership
Experience/Southern UU Leadership Experience
Focusing on ordained ministry and credentialed leadership in religious education and music, the program offers youth the opportunity to explore their call to ministry in all its forms, learn about life as a religious professional, and connect with other youth considering ministry, religious education and other religious professional career paths.
UU United Nations Office
illuminations App (iPhone and Android)
Activate Youth Justice Trainings

Young people, like people of all ages, deal with grief, loss, stress, transition and loneliness. Teens have struggles unique to their age and life stage like bullying, identity development, teen suicide, addiction, and pressures to succeed in school.
The Wider World (of Youth Ministry)
The Web of Youth Ministry
Shared Leadership Spectrum
The Web of Youth Ministry
Always a role for both youth and adults
Adults help youth grow in maturity through coaching and mentoring, not directing and overruling
It’s up to adults to make space for youth leadership
Multicultural, multigenerational,
faith-centered, congregationally-based
"As Unitarian Universalists, our call to the work of youth ministry rests on our spiritual commitment to build the world we dream about— a world in which our faith communities welcome people of all ages, cultures, and backgrounds to join hands in nourishing our spirits and healing the world.”
— Youth Ministry Working Group Report, 2009.
Our Vision for Youth Ministry
How UUs Approach
Youth Ministry
Sunday Morning worship
First Friday Potluck Dinners
Volunteer clean-up Saturdays
Annual Church Auction
Holiday celebrations
Singing in the choir
Food and clothing drives
Book clubs
and reading
Offering childcare for toddlers
Fall Retreat
Meeting guest speakers
Serving on committees
Writing for the church newsletter or Facebook page
Mentoring and being mentored
Sharing poetry
Youth Group
Watching movies with discussions
Lock-ins and sleepovers
Small group ministry
Deeper sharing
Volunteering - raking leaves,
raising money for a good cause, etc.
Leadership development & skills
Trading UU articles & stories
Meeting youth from
other congregations
Talent Show
Talking about the "big questions"
Service trips
Be The Change!
Journeys of the Spirit
When Youth Lead
Ministry with Youth
Renaissance Module
Youth Ministry Advising: A Complete Guide
A comprehensive guide for youth advisors and youth leaders to plan, lead and unpack a spiritually transformative service project.
Demonstrates how teens are an enormous generative force for our faith communities and how adults have much to learn from youth about passion, friendship, discrimination, equality, faith and more.
Includes 101 Youth Project Ideas
Social justice projects are a great way to bridge the gap between generations!
Youth <3 Justice!
Three Steps to Great Youth Service Projects:
2. Serve

on your experiences, this is the best time for learning!
What We Do Matters
Read about the transformative power of 15 years of youth service trips at the Winchester Unitarian Society
> uuabookstore.org
A multiculturalism and anti-racism project for UU youth
Six core training sessions (90 min), plus alternate activities
Flexible, can be used by a variety of settings and group sizes (weekend conference, local youth group, etc.)
Youth Envoys
Spring Seminar
Link your congregation and Youth Group with the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office by reporting on the work your congregation is doing pertaining to the United Nations and the Millennium Development Goals, and telling your congregation about what the UU-UNO is doing.
Every April, youth and adults from around the United States and Canada gather in New York City for the exciting and educational Intergenerational Spring Seminar.
"Youth conferences are
amazing experiences you won't
find anywhere else. At cons, we
learn what it's like to truly be a
part of a loving faith community"
Ohio-Meadville Summer Institute
Southeast UU Summer Institute

The Mountain
Ferry Beach
Star Island
Summer Conferences, FUUTURE I & II, Family Conferences
Religious Education Week, summer conferences
MountainCamp, Youth CONferences
Summer youth camps, family camps, family & friends weekend
Camp UniStar
Youth Week
Cass Lake, MN
Lowville, NY
Highlands, NC
Saco, ME
Portsmouth, NH
The annual meeting of Unitarian Universalists of all ages from around the country for an exiting week of worship, service, business and workshops.
Business Managers
Worship Coordinators
Connections Coordinators
Advisors/Sponsor Coordinators

Youth Caucus
designed by youth to meet youth needs. All are welcome
Youth Caucus room
Making an Impact
Pastoral Conversations
- Synergy Worship Service @ GA
Youth from around the country
General Sessions
Cons/rallies vary by region
Join a network of youth leaders from across the country. This is a chance for youth leaders at all levels to get more involved, network with one another, and be recognized for their skill and achievement. Luminary Leaders are tapped for focus groups, special roles and other unique opportunities in the UUA.
Join today at uua.org/luminary
Regional Summer Leadership Schools
Encourage an awesome youth to be a Luminary Leader!
Covers broad-ranging topics for advisors, leaders and religious professionals working with youth, including ways to recruit and support youth advisors, the nuts and bolts of youth group management, the role of advisors in creating a safe space, leadership training, and programming and project ideas.
Trainings & Webinars
Bridging Into Young Adulthood
Young Adulthood
Safe Congregations Handbook
Offers a multitude of resources for creating and implementing Safe Congregation policies, as well as thinking through various safety issues for your congregation.
Chrysalis Trainings
Leadership Development
Spirituality Development
Peer Chaplaincy
A leadership and skill-development program for youth and adults who work with youth, authored by the UUA and hosted by regions and districts.
Sample of those hosted by districts and regions:
Youth Ministry 101 & 102
Youth ministry coaching
Fundamentals of healthy youth ministry
Susainable youth ministry
Pastoral Care - transracially adopted youth, LGBTQ youth
Part of the professional certification program for religious educators, this module includes discussions on the characteristics of youth; building community; balanced programming; youth/congregational connections; selection, training and support of advisors; resources; and youth programming structures within congregations, districts and at the UUA. Scheduled Renaissance Modules are posted on the UUA Calendar.
Youth Ministry Working Group Report
Bridging— transitioning from youth into adulthood— is important not only in the life of an individual, but also in the life of a family and a faith community.
A handbook for how your congregation can address this transition
Crossing the bridge...

where we begin...
Youth Observers
...the big picture of Unitarian Universalist youth ministry.
Published in 2009, the report is the end result of a multi-year visioning process for youth ministry that offers recommendations for congregations, districts, seminaries, UU groups and the UUA for how to create dynamic, multicultural, multigenerational and faith-centered youth ministry.
Mosaic Project
Youth Ministry Vision
The Project's 2009 report offers recommendations to help congregations, districts, and UUA create an environment that is an effective part of the scaffolding that supports Youth and Young Adults of Color both in their development of a healthy identity and through the transition from childhood to adulthood.
American Camp Association
Faith Formation Learning Exchange
- Adolescent Faith Information
Exemplary Youth Ministry
The 2003 study focused on identifying congregations that consistently establish faith as a vital factor in the lives of their youth and discovering what accounts for their effective approaches to ministry.

"Sustainable Youth Minsitry"
The ACA Professional Development Center offers webinars, certification, training and a wealth of printed resources on best practices in safe and healthy youth communities.

Articles, models, tools and resources for youth ministry related to 21st Century Faith Formation trainings of John Robert. Great information!

Mark DeVries describes the rewarding but multi-year process of building a healthy and sustainable youth ministry supported by your congregation.
Ministry with Youth & Young Adults of Color
...not an end, but a beginning...
Gain skills to grow in awareness, transcend boundaries, and engage in justice work through week long immersive and experiential learning.
As a youth, there are lots of national boards and committees you can join! Here's one example:
Youth Observers, one 2 year position elected annually by ballots from youth groups across the country, offers a youth voice on the UUA Board of Trustees at all Board meetings.
Summer Seminary
Faith development classes
It takes the support of
Unitarian Universalists of all ages
to create and sustain healthy youth ministry. How do adults fit into the big picture?
Parents, guardians and families are a key part of youth ministry, and support youth in living out their UU values in their everyday lives.

They are also a play important roles in the most meaningful youth celebrations, rituals and transitions:
Coming of Age - Our Whole Lives - Bridging
Each of these programs includes a component for parents/guardians to participate.
uua.org/youngadults is a great place to start
Find a gathering of UU young adults near you!
The Search Institute
Excellent information and resources for educators focused on "discovering what kids need to succeed." Check out their Developmental Assets for research on what makes youth successful in life.
Coffee Hour fellowship
Making music
Interfaith community
Email Listservs
Share stories and best practices, engage with your fellow youth ministry practitioners across the UUA.
= paid youth ministry staff
Competencies for Ministry to/with Youth
Join the conversation!
...a brief overview.
If you attend General Assembly in your bridging year, you can cross the bridge at the all-GA Synergy Worship Service.
Accessible, culturally relevant, action-oriented, integrates technology and multimedia
A ceremony for all ages to celebrate bridging youth as they transition into young adulthood
Youth Caucus Volunteer Staff
Youth and adults who plan and run Youth Caucus events
UUA Boards and Committees
A national UU Youth recognition program
4 Year Leadership Track for Youth
Eight vital areas of development for volunteers, staff and professionals in youth ministry. Co-created by the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries and UUA Congregational Life staff, they embody a regional and national standard for youth ministry. An accompanying webinar series prepares you to deepen your competence in your ministry.
- wide variety of UU curricula
1. Educate
3. Reflect
yourselves about the social justice issues, culture and environment.
WITH rather than FOR the communities you visit.
Service Journeys
Midwest Leadership School
= members of the Liberal Religious
Educators Association
= open to all religious educators
= volunteer and professional youth advisors
The big picture of...
Rev. Elizabeth Nguyen
Join other Unitarian Universalist Youth of Color (People of African Descent, Caribbean, Native/American Indian, Asian and Pacific Islander, Latina/o and Hispanic, Middle Eastern/Arab, and Multiracial) for a five-day gathering to deepen our faith, lift our spirits, and build critical skills for leadership in the face of our uncertain, broken and beautiful world.
Thrive Leadership Schools
Multigenerational Pastoral Care
Queer Resources for Youth
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer Justice
Immigration Justice, Arizona/Mexico
Solidarity with Farmworkers, Florida
Appalachia in Transition, West Virginia
Exchanging Communities & Cultures, Nicaragua
Pre-General Assembly
New Orleans: Racial Justice
Boston: Climate Justice
Tucson: Immigration Justice
Pacific Western
New England
Central East
Southern Region
five days of UU covenant and community in a resort-like setting on the shores of Fort Gibson Lake in Oklahoma
A Unitarian Universalist all-ages camp in the Ohio-Meadville district
a week long summer camp for UU’s
Eliot Institute
A non-profit corporation affiliated with the Pacific Northwest District of the UUA
GenSesh Bingo
And join
at any point
Write an
Endorsement Letter
for a youth leader
Meaning Makers
A year long spiritual development program for young Unitarian Universalists (UUs). Through in-person retreats, virtual small group ministry and mentorship, emerging adults will explore the central questions “Who am I and how can I live my Unitarian Universalist (UU) faith in the world?”
Fuller Youth Institute

They transform cutting-edge research into resources for leaders and parents to help unlock young people's potential and unleash them to change the world.
Virtue Ethics
This program’s premise—in the words of the Buddha, recited in every workshop Opening—is that “our thoughts and actions become habits and our habits shape our character.” We have some control over our character. We can shape the person we want to be by making intentional, thoughtful decisions.
A Chorus of Faiths
These sessions develop UU youth as interfaith leaders. Explore values of service to our community and religious pluralism through stories from our Sources and personal storytelling, and coordinate an interfaith service project.
A photo documentary curriculum. Who is in a family varies widely and contributes to the diversity of healthy variation.
A Place of Wholeness
Curriculum builds upon the faith development of Coming of Age. Delivering an "elevator speech" or conversing with friends at the lunch table, youth need practice in describing our multifaceted faith in terms that are personally meaningful and true.
Exploring our Values through Poetry
Curriculum utilizes poems that are concerned with elements of the spiritual life: acute observation, conscious and continuous inquiry, the unveiling of reality, hope and hopelessness, the afterlife, and the tenderness of the human condition.
Building Bridges
Religions serve the human need for meaning and connection. Youth delve into our religiously diverse world and examine how this diversity influences their own Unitarian Universalist faith.
Heeding the Call
A social justice curriculum that explores linked oppressions in our society and encourages participants towards personal growth in values that counteract the marginalization of others.
All of these curricula available at uua.org/tapestry/youth
Intentional Intergenerational UU Communities
Youth ministry is everyone’s ministry
Adults aged 25 and older who are part of their congregation’s ministry to and with youth may be:
religious educators,
Sunday school teachers,
youth program coordinators,
youth advisors,
Our Whole Lives teachers,
Coming of Age mentors,
Bridging mentors,
conference sponsors,
service trip leaders,
committee or ministry team members.
Companioning youth on their spiritual journey is an important ministry!
BlueBoat Video
Shared Leadership Spectrum
Youth minisry is just as complex and multifaceted as ministry with adults
Use along side the Six Pillars of Youth Ministry (available on uua.org)
See Workshop 1 in Bringing the Web to Life (uua.org/webtolife)
Bringing the Web to Life
- uua.org/webtolife

Designed to help youth and adults in youth ministry develop the skills and multigenerational community support to faithfully lead with confidence and compassion within and beyond a Unitarian Universalist context.
Full transcript