I really hate those messages on websites announcing changes (that tend to drag on forever) and here I am creating one. Here’s the deal, we’ve just recently gotten approval to bring people in on our new program. This is something that we’ve been wrestling with for the last couple months and are ready to bring into focus: What does it really mean for us to engage young adults in transformative service? What does a lifetime commitment to service look like for Millennials?
What does Mission mean for Millennials?
We’ve really gone back to our mission and recommitted to the work of connecting young adults with the work of the Church. We’ve asked what mission means to us and what it means to engage young adults. We’ve taken a look at the form of our first program and decided that engaging young adults in mission does not need to look like a year-long volunteer experience. This is a form that has been very meaningful for a lot of people but it isn’t the only way to engage young adults.
One thing I’ve learned during this time in conversation with a number of young adults is that many of them care deeply about their religious life even if they are not in churches on Sunday mornings. They care about living out the Gospel and helping the people Jesus helped. I have also learned that they are a very diverse group in their perspectives and preferences. Some many find God in Sunday worship, some may find God in small community gatherings, some may find God in getting their hands dirty in service to others, to name a few.
Create an Opportunity
We want to create an opportunity for those who want their work to be driven by their faith but are unable to abandon all the obligations of life most of us are tied to. This opportunity needs to be flexible enough to fit a variety of ambitions, areas of work and needs to be equally accessible to all regardless of background. And it needs to provide a real shot at starting something new.
The Motor City Mission Fellowship
So, in the next few weeks we’ll be formally opening applications for the Motor City Mission Fellowship. Fellows are young adults living in and around Detroit with an idea to build up and serve their community. It will have two program phases. The first: a three month period where participants work with us to develop and start implementing a plan for their project, spend time together in teaching/learning and mutual support, and benefit from the spiritual, intellectual and networking resources of the Presbytery of Detroit. At the end of this phase they will receive a grant up to $3000 to help get their project off the ground. The second program phase is open ended; fellows become a part of a larger community of innovative ministry leaders in the Detroit area, continuing to meet for mutual support and finding possibilities.
So, under construction! Coming soon!
Seriously though, we’re pretty excited to be able to try this out. I can’t wait to see what people come up with!