Reaching Young Adults
“I was instantly excited by this program.”
– Krista Oppie, Seminary student View Slideshow
Your mission support provides for the ELCA’s present and future gospel witness by funding the gathering and empowering of young adults (ages 18-30) for service through ELCA congregations, synods, seminaries, outdoor ministries, campus and chaplaincy ministries, colleges and universities, and pilot ministry programs.
Here are a few examples
Conversation starter: Krista Oppie is a first-year student at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minn., but she already has years of mission and ministry experience. This twenty-something leader has served for a year in the Philippines with the ELCA Young Adults in Global Mission program.
I was instantly excited by this program.
—Krista Oppie, Seminary student
She has participated in a pilot program in northwest Washington state that mobilizes young adults to fi ght the causes of world hunger. Before that, she ministered in soup kitchens, in El Salvador and on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
Most recently, Krista has participated in the Young Adult Conversations Pilot Program, which helps young adults to consider what their ministry might be and how the church can encourage them. She starts the ministry conversations and then listens and encourages future conversations.
“I was instantly excited by this program. I knew that I was not going to be selling anything or pushing a new youth ministry or trying to convince someone of what they should be doing with their lives,” said Krista. “The creativity and interests of the participants are the focus.”
Blogging on faith: Mariette Martinez is a full time student from Chicago who plans to be an elementary school teacher. She is an active member of her congregation, Zion Cristo Rey Lutheran. “I started going to my ELCA church at the age of 15; a friend invited me, and I never left,” she said.
Mari is one of five featured bloggers on the ELCA Young Adult Ministry Web page, blogs.elca.org/service. In her online journal, or blog, she chronicles her thoughts and feelings as she navigates life. Her blog focuses on her passion—service—and she uses this technology to start conversations in a free, open-ended way.
The blog is part of young adult ministries that are funded by your mission support. It’s another way that the ELCA is building up networks to help young adults discern their calling(s) in life and deepen their understanding of vocation.
The “present” generation: When the Rev. Paul Wollner arrived at Mt. Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Prosperity, S.C., he was, at 26, the youngest pastor in his conference—by 21 years. Two years later, he is working with young adults in the ELCA South Carolina Synod to begin a synod-wide Young Adult Movement.
Through ELCA grants and with encouragement from the synod, the Young Adult Movement gathers young adults into small clusters for service, study, and fellowship. As a special project, the Young Adult Movement will equip participants to educate their congregations about the ELCA World Hunger Appeal.
“Young adults in their 20s and 30s have been called ‘the absent generation’ because they did not seem interested in being part of the church,” said Wollner. “Now, we’re inviting and encouraging the ‘present generation.’”