Young Adults in the Pacific Northwest | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
April 2011

Young Adults in the Pacific Northwest

By Chris Wilterdink

The 2011 Young Adult Retreat for the Pacific Northwest Conference is coming up this weekend, April 8-10, 2011. As of current count, they are over 100 young adults and counting signed up for the weekend!

Young Adult Ministry, specifically special events seem to be one of the tougher ministry areas for the UMC to engage in. So what is helping make this weekend a successful draw to young adults?

Setting Schedule – Lazy F Camp outside of Ellensburg, Washington provides a setting that gets young adults into a dedicated setting for a weekend of reflection. The weekend also follows a loosely arranged schedule of devotions and keynotes.

Childcare – Childcare is available on a limited day time basis for only $10 per child. This helps young adults with children be more fully present in the weekend.

Cost Scholarships – Young people are looking after their money more and more closely, and keeping costs low for any event is a priority. The full price of this weekend is only $80. GBHEM and Campus Ministries have also provided funding for partial scholarships for those who want to attend. Having a weekend event that costs less than $100 with scholarships available removes another barrier that young adult ministry often faces.

Publicity – Irene DeMaris has been using established conference publications plus social media to attract young adults to this event. Perhaps the most effective use of social media took place 3 weeks before the event, when Irene shared a challenge to get the weekend from 80 participants to 100 participants by the beginning of April. In many ways, young adults desire connections with each other, yet feel more comfortable once a certain size threshold has been achieved. The public interaction of folks jockeying to get the event over 100 was fun to watch, and has no helped push the event close to its capacity of 150 participants!

Do you have other stories of successful ministry moments with young adults? We’d love to hear from you!

Tags: connection, relationship, Retreat, Senior Pastor, Young Adult, youth worker

Chris serves as Director of Young People’s Ministries for Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church. Chris has a BA in English Education, and an MS in Project Management, and over 15 years of local-church youth ministry experience. He is passionate about leadership and faith development in young people and helping ministry leaders understand their value in the lives of young people. A Stephen Minister, Chris is a native of Colorado living in Franklin, TN with his wife Emily, 2 children, and sausage-shaped beagle.