Tips on Starting a Young Adult Ministry

posted November 22nd, 2017 by Brian Neese

Tips on Starting a Young Adult Ministry


“All churches should strive to have a young adult ministry,” according to Justin Farmer, academic coordinator at Southeastern University’s Barnett College of Ministry and Theology. “The 18- to 34-year-old demographic is the most unchurched (those who have never been involved in a church) and de-churched (those who have grown up in the church but have left) group in the United States. If churches are seeking to meet the needs of their community and the world, it is likely that a young adult ministry is right for them.”


Faith Communities Today: Fewer Young Adults in Congregation

How to Work With Leadership to Begin Planning a Young Adult Ministry

As Dennis Franck writes in Relevant magazine, consider the following before launching a young adult ministry.

  • Pray about beginning this ministry. “Prayer will bring God’s thoughts and ideas into your mind and heart. Seek Him for the direction, leadership and purposes of this ministry before anything else,” Franck says.
  • Obtain permission and support. Meet with the leadership of your church, such as the senior pastor and/or the board/elders about starting the young adult ministry. Gaining support from leadership is necessary in launching a new ministry.
  • Look into the adult demographics of your church. To see how your church currently serves the young adult demographic, be sure to do some research to find out how your ministry can fill needs that aren’t currently being met, or improve on those that are. For example, you can have adults complete a survey during the largest service of the week. Jason Hale, a pastor at Rolling Hills Community Church in Tennessee, proposes other ideas like gathering leaders in your church to ask them about the young adult demographic or hosting think tank sessions.
  • Develop a mission statement. Discuss your mission statement with leaders in your church. This allows you to set the direction and purpose for the young adult ministry, as well as how the ministry will support the overall mission of your church.

Tips on Starting a Young Adult Ministry


One of the most important steps is selecting leaders for the young adult ministry. Churches should focus on individuals who understand the young adult experience and are enthusiastic about ministering to this group, according to Farmer. “As with any ministry, a heart and a passion to reach this particular group is critically important,” Farmer says.


Education is important for the right ministry leader and can be a powerful qualification. SEU’s online MA in Ministerial Leadership can help leaders of young adult ministries respond to church members’ needs. Courses like Shape of Practical Theology and Spirit-Empowered Spirituality and Discipleship encourage students to think through everyday problems in a biblical, theological manner, and develop strategies for engaging and discipling young adults.


Tips for Starting a Young Adult Ministry

Biblical teaching is a foundation for any ministry, so of course it should be one of the main focuses of any young adult ministry. “I’m convinced that healthy young adult ministries need to ground themselves in God’s Word and sound teaching to thrive spiritually,” according to Boundless contributor Adam Holz. “This [can] be in the context of small groups or a large group.”


“Young adults don’t want to feel like a number on the attendance roster, but a vital part of the movement,” Farmer says. “They want to do something significant and important. Creating spaces for young adults to be involved and to be in community will lead to a successful young adult ministry.” Growing in number but neglecting discipleship and a true sense of community is a pitfall that churches should avoid.


To encourage attendance and engagement in the new ministry, be sure to use multiple channels, from social media to word of mouth, to reach current and prospective members of the ministry.


Pursuing a Career in Ministry

Southeastern University’s online ministry degrees prepare students for various careers in churches and other faith-based organizations. Graduates can pursue positions in areas such as worship, preaching, teaching, administration and youth and family ministry. Each program takes place in a flexible and convenient format to accommodate students’ personal and work schedules.

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