Youth survey results will help congregations better attract and retain youth.
Those are some of the results of a just-completed survey of Unitarian Universalist youth undertaken to determine how youth regard their faith community. The survey is part of a two-year process of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations to determine how it might better reach and serve youth. Called Consultation on Ministry To and With Youth, the process will culminate with a summit on ministry and youth in July 2007.
Of the 1,399 youth who responded to the survey, 39 percent had been UUs for more than 10 years, and 21 percent for less than 4, while 5 percent no longer considered themselves UU. The ages of those surveyed ranged from 12 to 20. The average age was 15.
Some of the results:
Jaeger noted that transracially adopted youth seem to have a particularly hard time in our congregations. “Often they’re the only people of color. One place we need to focus energy and resources is in supporting those youth.”
The next step in the consultation process is for congregations to hold conversations about youth in April and May using the survey results as a basis for discussion. “We want congregations to explore how involved youth are in the daily life of the church,” said Jaeger.
Beth Dana, Youth Ministry associate, said the Youth Office is not suggesting answers to congregations as they hold their conversations, but wants them to come up with their own. “We’re giving them some pointed questions to help them think about these issues. And we want them to identify what resources they need.” Conversation material is available on the consultation’s website (See below).
As of early April, 277 congregations had signed up to hold a conversation. Congregations can continue to sign up by contacting Dana at (617) 948-4352 or at bdana [at] uua [dot] org and are encouraged to hold these conversations in April or May.
A process guide to help congregations with these conversations is available at the consultation website. “This is going to be an amazing body of information for us when we get all of the responses from congregations,” said Dana.
See below for related links.
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Donald E. Skinner was the founding editor of the InterConnections newsletter for congregational leaders and a senior editor of UU World from 1998 until his retirement in 2014. He is a member of the Shawnee Mission Unitarian Universalist Church in Lenexa, Kansas.