January is the time when many young adults from Queensland Uniting Churches will be moving off to new places for work or for study and many won’t connect with a Uniting Church in their new area.
Early Adult Ministry Coordinator with the Youth and Children’s Ministry Unit Tom Kerr says that your congregation’s ministry to them isn’t over until they are well and truly established in another Uniting Church.
“Times of transition can be very stressful for people and coping with all the change can be hard.”
“Sometimes our people on the move fail to connect with another church because the idea of meeting even more new people and dealing with even more change can be just too much.”
Tom said that sometimes young adults don’t find another Uniting Church just because they are “slack” or perhaps haven’t been encouraged to see joining a new church as essential to their discipleship. They don’t know where to begin to find us or perhaps tried a church but it failed to care for them.”
Tom said that the home church can do a lot to help young adults move to a new Uniting Church and keep connected to God.
“Without our help, they could easily fall through the cracks.”
For further resources to help young adults in their transition times you will find an article by Tom on the Youth and Children’s Ministry Unit website www.yacmu.com.au.
Tom’s tips for keeping young adults connected
Hold a significant “rite of passage” recognition for young adults who will be moving on. This could form a part of a church service or a whole church service.
Commit to follow up with pastoral care when young adults have moved until they are settled in to a new church. Hold them accountable as disciples, for connecting in with a new faith community.
Ask for permission to pass on news of how the young adult is getting along to the rest of the congregation with any prayer requests they have.
Ask your moving young adult for permission to pass their name and contact details on to Uniting Churches in their new area.
Check out the churches close to where your young adults will be moving. Give them a call to ask how they might look after your young adult. Ask if they will contact the young adult in the next couple of days. If the first church you contact doesn’t work for the young adult, try another one.
When your young adult commits to another church in their new home, send a greeting to that church from your church and acknowledge that you are entrusting them with the pastoral care of that person, while you also will maintain an interest in their well-being.
Have welcome home activities and opportunities to share when your young adult returns home for visits or holidays.