We have a challenge for you – with rewards for all and a prize. But first a little background: our Coming of Age program is intended to be a great opportunity for our youth to explore who they are spiritually, ethically, and emotionally. We want them to develop a UU identity, grounded in our history, informed by our current struggles, and inspired by a sense of belonging. We want them to embrace leadership, create worship, practice service, and learn what it means to fully participate in the life of the congregation.
And they are more likely to want to do all of these things if it’s fun and rewarding for them. To that end, we decided to add a new toy to the playground: The Coming of Age Scorecard. This is in addition to things like three overnights at church, a heritage trip to Boston, the pairing with mentors, weekly youth group meetings, and presenting of Credo statements at a Sunday morning service.
What is this Scorecard? Each Coming of Age teenager uses their scorecard to keep track of their congregational involvement in seven categories. They can win points and color ribbons for a wide variety of tasks and activities at church and in the community.
Red: Spiritual Practices – e.g., meditate for 15 minutes a day for a week, attend any of the various types of worship services available at the church, lead grace at a family meal.
Orange: Social Justice – e.g., attend a social justice rally, write to an elected official or the newspaper about a cause that is important to you, fundraise for a justice-related cause.
Yellow: Living your Values Daily – e.g., eat lunch with someone who seems isolated, write to someone you love but rarely see, volunteer during Family Promise.
Green: Creativity – e.g., play music or sing during a worship service, create a collage of your spiritual journey so far, write a story, song, or poem about a time you faced a tough moral choice.
Blue: Get to Know the UU Church e.g., tell the history of the silver pieces outside the sanctuary, help with social hour set up or clean up, ask a Pastoral Care Associate to tell you about their work
Indigo: Intergenerational Connections – e.g., participate in Mystery Match, work as a helper in the nursery, interview an elder about their spiritual journey
Violet: Leadership – e.g., ask to help organize a church event, write an article about Youth Group for Parish Notes, join a church committee or team
Turns out the youth really get into these scorecards. And when we mentioned that at our last Lifespan Faith Development committee meeting, we suddenly had a collective “aha!” moment when someone asked: “What if we expanded the idea to everyone in the congregation? What about a Ministers’ Challenge for adults and kids along the same lines?”
So what do you think? Can you help us create a meaningful Ministers’ Challenge? We will pull together a first draft over the next few weeks, ask for your input, and then run the experiment for the next few months. Some of you might be in it for the prize – a multigenerational meal with the ministers and the kids, the youth and the adults who took the challenge most seriously. Yet regardless of the prize we hope you will be inspired to participate simply as an excuse to give focus and intention to your own spiritual health, to living out your values, and to deepening your connections. In short, a chance to do all those great things we hope our Coming of Age youth will find here at church.
We all learn by observing and imitating those around us. May the Ministers’ Challenge help us be role models for one another, across the generations, across our identities, with kindness, and with a sprinkle of playfulness.
With love and excitement,
Michael & Lyn