Week of August 28, 2013

Todd JonesMy Dear Friends,

Grace and Peace to you in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is hard to believe that a year has flown by since I joined the ministry of FPC. The last twelve months have been a whirlwind of meaningful worship, warm coffee dates, strategic planning meetings and evening Bible studies. Through it all, the Holy Spirit has been unfailingly at work in the lives of young adults and the adults in ministry with them.

Let me take this opportunity to say a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all of you who have welcomed me, supported young adult events, led classes and Bible studies, cooked for and hosted fellowship gatherings and generally been an enthusiastic member of the ‘great cloud of witnesses’ surrounding FPC’s Young Adult Ministry.

In brief conversations after worship or in impromptu discussions in the church’s hallways, many of you have expressed curiosity about the burgeoning shape of our Young Adult Ministry and ways that you might be involved. In the paragraphs that follow, I hope to sketch an outline of our offerings and lift up some avenues for your support (indicated with an *).

The Vision: FPC’s Young Adult Ministry strives to be a hospitable and engaging church community where young adults (aged 18-39) can worship, learn, serve and fellowship with each other and with the entire church family. Ultimately, the goal of this ministry is to form mature, adult disciples of Christ who are equipped and ready to serve God, the church and the broader community throughout their adult lives.

The demographic profile of today’s young adult population is diverse and dynamic with their vocations (studying, working, parenting), relationship statuses (single, engaged, married, divorced) and life-phases (college, early 20s, young professionals, young families, elementary families) shifting frequently. My goal is to craft a ministry that embraces, supports and values individuals through the many life transitions of young adulthood.

College: While FPC high school graduates will maintain the invaluable connections they have made with their youth leaders and peers over summers and breaks, students who remain in or move to Nashville for college can join the Young Adult Ministry. FPC is a huge supporter of the Presbyterian campus ministry known as UKirk (‘U’ for ‘University’ and ‘Kirk’ for the Scottish word for ‘church’). On Tuesday evenings, UKirk worships at St. Augustine Chapel on Vanderbilt University’s Campus and then shares a fellowship dinner together. Starting this fall, UKirk will launch a student group on Belmont University’s Campus that will worship and study the Bible together on Wednesday nights.

*In September, FPC will have many college and graduate students visiting our church. Try to spot them in worship and welcome them personally after the service.

*Encourage some members of your Sunday school class, circle or small group to provide a dinner (Vanderbilt) or refreshments (Belmont) this year for UKirk students.

Early 20s: Many of our members in their 20s attend the 5:30 evening service. The group goes out to dinner together afterwards, and a good number are part of a vibrant Tuesday night small group.

*Bring a dish to the monthly 5:30 potluck (“Soup Night”) that encourages fellowship among the many age groups that attend the service.

*Volunteer to be a greeter at the 5:30 service and get to know some of our early 20s.

Young Professionals: In December of 2012, I began to identify FPC’s young adults who were either working full-time or studying toward a post-graduate degree, were single, married or divorced and did not have children. With growing enthusiasm, this group has been gathering for brunch or dinner every month. Several new opportunities are starting for this demographic in the fall.

On September 8th, a new Young Adult Sunday school class will launch with a lively professional team. College students and early 20s are also invited to join. The class will focus on Bible study and Christian discipleship. This date also marks the second round of Chan and Ginger Sheppard’s Foundations class for nearly and newly married young adults.

The Connections Class will continue to be option for young professionals and any young adult to engage in lively discussion and intelligent debate. They will be using The Wired Word curriculum to effectively relate the Bible to current events.

A new Wednesday night Young Professional Women’s Bible Study is also in the works.

*Tell young professionals you know about the new opportunities at FPC. Invite them to join this growing and welcoming group.

*Offer your support to one of the three Sunday school classes for young professionals by being a guest speaker, befriending a young adult in your profession, or brining breakfast treats one Sunday.

Young Families: Deb O’Brien, the director of the Ministry to Children and their Families, and I have been working together to create educational and fellowship opportunities for young families.

On September 8th, Mort and Jami Hill will launch a new Sunday school class called First Families, focused on faithfully raising children ages birth to six years old.

Keep your eyes peeled for some fresh and exciting ministries for young mothers that will kick off in late September.

*Invite young parents you know to join this new First Families Sunday school class.

*Moms of older children, prayerfully consider offering yourself as a mentor for one of the young mothers ministries this year.

Elementary Families: The Friends in Faith Sunday school class is embarking on a new adventure this fall as they unite with Marbut Gaston’s 28-Week Overview of the Bible class. Every several weeks Friends in Faith members will meet separately to discuss what they are learning and to catch up with one another.

The Thursday morning Connections Bible Study will also continue this year and would welcome new members.

*Volunteer to help with quarterly Parents Night Out events.

Beyond classes or small groups, fellowship events or worship services, the number one need young adults express to me is their hunger for meaningful relationships with Christians older than themselves. So whether you are on the front lines young adult ministry or just learning that FPC has a Young Adult Ministry, I hope you will seek out the opportunity to befriend one of our young adult members. Thank you.

In Christ,

Todd Jones

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