Thank you to all 1,000 young adults who joined in Vision Project gatherings around the globe! Members of the First Presidency met with you in over 30 locations to hear your perspectives on the mission and future of Community of Christ. Your concerns and ideas were well received, and I will continue to work with them as we follow up on what we heard.
After the gatherings, our first step was to review and evaluate all that we heard. At the end of April, we called together a diverse focus group of about 25 young adults from around the English-speaking church. The group met in New Haven, MO, USA for a weekend with the First Presidency and apostles Linda Booth and Jim Slauter.
Our goals: Hone in on the most passionate and church-changing concerns voiced at Vision Project, and offer our top suggestions for action that we and the church can take. After intense discussions, here’s what we found….
Young Adults’ Top Recommendations:
- Offer better leadership education and entry points for YAs take leadership locally.
- Build ways for congregations to stay connected with YAs after they graduate high school.
- Help congregations center on mission and try new models of congregational life.
- Every mission center or field should consider supporting a YA minister, YA activities, and including outreach in their goals.
- Offer ministries for young adults to be with peers after we have moved on from high school.
- Congregations need education to recognize and appreciate the various life stages and needs among young adults.
- Congregations and individuals need help discerning if they have opportunities and calling to minister with young adults.
- Provide resources to help individuals, congregations, or others to offer relevant ministry with different types of young adults.
- All education and training opportunities in Community of Christ should incorporate an action-oriented component.
- We challenge congregations to be firmly grounded in continuous discipleship formation devoted to mission, Scripture, sound theology, vibrant worship, and holistic relationships.
- We long for authentic, personal friendships with congregation members older than us!
- Intentional, mutual, intergenerational relationships should be at the heart of Community of Christ congregational culture.
- These relationships should be about mutual disciple and ministry formation, friendship, and life skills.
- Formal and informal mentoring should be initiated in as many congregations as possible.
- Before entering into mentoring relationships persons should be educated. Field support should be provided for mentoring education.
- The church at all levels should be educated about the centrality of intergenerational relationships the faith community and the resources available to support those relationships.
- Each priesthood member should understand their office as it can relate to the specific needs of young adult generations. How does the role call them to minister in places where young adults are often found, such as college campuses, coffee shops, workplaces, schools, etc.?
- In preordination education, include clear lifestyle expectations or ethical guidelines for priesthood.
- Consistently integrate priesthood into local and World Church young adult activities, especially evangelists, seventy, and high priests.
- New young adult ordinands should be paired with older, more experienced priesthood mentors for ministry education and practice.
So What Happens Next?…
- Get the word out.
- Tailored communications will flow to congregations, local leaders, World Church leaders, and others about what young adults have said in Vision Project.
- Recommend what each of them can to do make the church more inclusive and relevant for all generations.
- Submit to the First Presidency and World Church leaders a detailed report and recommendations of Vision Project.
- Young Adult Ministries Team.
- A diverse group of leaders will form an ongoing steering team for World Church Young Adult Ministries.
- They will help strategize and organze the ministries that we offer in response to Vision Project.
- Church leadership planning and commitments.
- The First Presidency and other World Church leaders will assess the Vision Project Report and create a long-term action plan in cooperation with Young Adult Team.
- We’ll let keep sharing details with you as they unfold.
There’s a quick overview! And theres’s LOTS more that will take shape in the months to come!