By Paige K Slighter
Who am I? How do I fit in? Am I lovable and loving?
Young adulthood is a crucial time for these kinds of questions. We are recognizing our uniqueness as individuals and developing our sense of self in relation to the world around us. Our connectedness and the community we choose in this time plays a crucial role in who we will become. This is both exciting and terrifying.
Part of the fun of being a young adult is the lack of normalcy. Life can feel like an adventure with frequent change and exploration. However, it doesn’t always live up to the hype (especially when there’s a pandemic!). Discovering our independence and developing into a mature adult can be a tall order that often involves a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. At Woodland we want to walk with young people on this journey.
Vessels, our newly relaunched ministry for young people 18-29, is doing just that. Their mission is to foster a sense of belonging and connection in Kingdom community. The name for their group comes from the idea of God filling our lives with meaning and purpose. Vessels’ leadership team prays that God will pour into this ministry, allowing each participant to overflow with God’s love.
Conversations to revamp the ministry started in January with Danny Churchill, our Emerging Generations Pastor. He felt like it was a good time to pause the group’s gatherings and connect with the volunteer leaders who had been serving to get their input. He said, “We started having conversations about our values and what our mission should be. A little over a month into these conversations, we entered the new reality of COVID-19.” They started having online video meetings and continued to build structure as well as strengthen friendships with each other.
This Monday, August 3, Vessels will host their first in-person gathering at Woodland, since COVID began. Keeping safety precautions in mind, they believe it’s important to experience togetherness that isn’t just online. The leaders of Vessels feel called to show others how to gather safely and meet new friends. Danny said, “Now, with a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place, it feels like the right time to relaunch what we’re hoping will be a vibrant, fulfilling ministry for young adults at Woodland Hills!”
Shawn, a Vessels leader and a self-proclaimed extrovert, is ecstatic to meet other young adults. He said, “I think the years after high school, into college and beyond are the absolute best times to create community and build a network of like-minded men and women with the goal of growing spiritually.” Shawn moved to the U.S. after graduating high school in France. When he moved to the Twin Cities after college, he really started missing social life. He said, “Often, one’s twenties are filled with transition and with that can come a lot of stress and loneliness.” He thinks a group like Vessels can help foster an environment of friendship and encouragement, especially during these difficult times when social interaction is at a minimum.
Esa, another leader, looks forward to Vessels creating “comforting order within the chaos.” He remembers experiencing a lot of pressure deciding who he wanted to become right out of high school into college. He said, “Existing in the young adulthood realm can feel like a dimension of chaos. To some extent it feels as if the pilot has left and you are the only other person in the cockpit.” Something that greatly helped him get through it all was stable relationships with other Christians on a similar journey.
We are excited to see the relationships that will form through Vessels. If you’re interested in joining or know a young adult who is looking for community, learn more here.