Saturday, November 16, 2013

Young Adults in Ministry | Six Incredible Options

What should I do with my life? We're all asking ourselves this question all of the time, but those transitioning from youth to young adulthood are asking it with focused poignancy.

Often, I want to state the obvious. If you are applying to university, God is calling you to study hard, get good grades, participate with integrity in the collegiate experience, be kind to your dorm mate. If you are looking for a job, or want to play in a rock band, God is calling you to invest all your creativity into doing whatever you do with life and faithfulness. God wants you to have flow.

But some young people I know are pondering (churchy people use the word discerning) whether they have a call to some type of specific Christian ministry. If you are wondering whether you are called to be a pastor/missionary/deaconess/youth director/mission developer/organist, or even just a saxon canon regular, here are the resources you want to dig into to help with your discernment.

1. Young Adults in Global Mission

This is the the ELCA program for global mission service abroad, including locations in England, South Africa, Argentina, Jerusalem, Madagascar, Malaysia, Eastern Europe, and Mexico.

2. Youth Encounter

Youth Encounter is an ecumenical adventure with strong Lutheran connections. Young adults lead "encounters with Christ" in local congregations and at Quakes and other youth events.

3. Lutheran Volunteer Corps

Like Peace Corps, but domestic service and based out of the Lutheran social justice tradition. Participants live in intentional Christian community and explore the spiritual dimensions of social justice activism.

4. Living Learning | Toledo

This "gap year" program is in the pilot stages in Toledo, led by a creative young Lutheran pastor, Josh Graber.

5. Treehouse

Lots of universities have amazing campus ministries you can be a part of. This is the one at Texas A&M. Go to a Lutheran college and campus ministry will be built directly in to your college experiences.

6. Project Connect

An ELCA web site designed to help young adults connect to congregations and discern their call to ministry. They host regular service learning and discernment events around the country.


  1. And in Region 8, I would add the (short term) fantastic TEY (theological education with youth) to the high school set. Based out of LTSG, the program gives practical exposure to a whole host of possibilities for vocation.

  2. For much more complete and up-to-date information regarding Living Learning Toledo linked above, go to I spent two months as an interim pastor there, and met Josh and the first year "ALTers." It's a fantastic program for young adults, something that I hope will successfully expand to other sites.

  3. Thanks, Mark. I also recently hosted a guest column from Josh on the Alt Year program: