Thursday, August 27, 2009

Young Adults Ministry

In the back of the Trott's truck after floating down the river the first day - quote of the day = "I'm from Mississippi, I KNOW how to ride in the back of a truck"

About to canoe down the river - the whole Young Adults group

Hanging out on the patio with our gracious hosts and Robyn, enjoying each other and the nice weather.

A while back I mentioned that I spent a weekend in Hardy, Arkansas on a canoe trip with church. I finally have some time to reflect on the trip and realize just how necessary and uplifting it was.

First, I have to explain who the "Young Adults Ministry" or YAMs are. Jake and I participate in a group at church for young adults (roughly 35 and under) and have gotten very active in it. We have made some great friends and have found that this group is really helping us transition into being viable adults in the church. Going to the same church you grew up in is wonderful mostly but there is a downside in that many people still see you as the young person you were and in addition, you still feel young there. Instead of going to church because mom says so, now it is completely up to you whether you'll go to church. It has to be a priority because you want it to be, not because anyone else does. Having a group to navigate this time has been a blessing.

The canoe trip is just one example of the fun things we do together. Some of our activities are worship based and some are just for good ole fun. The canoe trip started on Friday - we made our way to the Spring River where the Peeples family was letting us use their family cabin for the weekend. We got there and decided to take a float trip down the river while waiting for the second shift of travellers. The float trip was my favorite part of the trip. The company was great, the water was cold but refreshing, and it was just the escape I needed.

After floating, we hung out and munched. The others got there, we ate dinner, and then had a compline service (one of my favorite services - it always reminds me of camp). I took the spare time after the service to start a book I'd been wanting to read but hadn't found the time to start. After a well rested night, we got up the next morning, had a Eucharist, and canoed the Spring River (or a small part that feeds into it). I was in the canoe with Clayton (pictured with his wife, Ebet, in the last picture) and Ragna. Not being an expert canoer, I was grateful for Clayton's guidance.

The canoeing was fine - I've gone a few times and while it isn't my favorite thing to do on the water, the trip was enjoyable. We called across to each other's boats, stopped for swimming, ate lunch on the falls, and had a generally good time. Somewhere between beginning and lunch we got some light rain, which normally would have been great because it keeps the heat off but in my case it was bad because I had fully lathered up in sunscreen which then was dripping into my eye. My eye swole shut and burned like no other. I had sunscreen on my hands so I couldn't get my eye cleared up. Luckily, Ragna is an optometry student and had eye drops with her - at lunch she flushed my eye out and I was brand new again.

That night we had dinner (award winning ribs), did Evening Prayer, and played some competitive rounds of board games. The next morning we had breakfast and then I left to come back to Memphis - school started the next day and I needed to mentally prepare myself.

I think my favorite part of the trip was being around people who were genuine and who helped me relax and just enjoy being in the moment - sharing the weekend with them. From the board games to the float trip to the Eucharist, this was a group of people who came together because of a common belief and religion but we've become more than that. We've become friends, a support system. This past weekend I got to have another outing with the YAMs as most of the canoe trippers went to Molly and Ryan's for a pool party. I am very grateful for all of these people who unexpectedly came into my life at a very important time.


Anonymous said...

hi kathryn! we've been running a YAM for a while in our church and we're always interested in what other YAMs are up to =)

what do you think makes young adults come for YAM?

Unknown said...

I think our YAMs program has grown so much because of a few key things:

1) A core committed group to come to functions. We use this group as a programming committee so that we always know who is busy when/what people are interested in, that way we know at least a few people will come.

2) A faithful leader who is dedicated to the program (this has been a member of our church staff in the past)

3) Doing activities that young adults are interested in - we do a "Pub Theology" where we have theological talks at a Sunday brunch and this is a time we get to know each other so that when we have social activities (we have a game night on Monday, for example), everyone wants to come to be with their friends.

Our program took time to build and it is always evolving as people get older and new people come in. The best part about it has been the ability to welcome new young adults in the church with a thriving program. It makes our church unique and seem more like 'home'.

Let me know if you have questions - you can always email me at


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