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Richard Allen Young Adult Council African Methodist Episcopal Church Training Manual

Version 1.5 April 18, 2005

Revisions Revision No. 1.0 1.5 Date Aug 04 Apr 05 Description Initial version Revised Author Tracee L.T. Simms Tracee L.T. Simms

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Table of Contents

History and Background ........................................................................................................ 4 The RAYAC Today .................................................................................................................. 4 Before you Begin ..................................................................................................................... 4 Starting a Young Adult Council in your Local Church .............................................................. 5 Seven (7) Guidelines for establishing a young adult council................................................ 5 1. Organize a Core Leadership Team .............................................................................. 5 2. Gather Information about Young Adults ....................................................................... 6 3. Identify Existing Church Programs ............................................................................... 7 4. Design a Program for the Young Adult Council in Your Local Church.......................... 7 5. Set Goals and Objectives ............................................................................................. 8 6. Implement the Program ................................................................................................ 8 7. Evaluate ....................................................................................................................... 8 Connecting your pre-existing young adult organization with the RAYAC ................................ 9 Issues Facing Today's Young Adults....................................................................................... 9 Things to Avoid...................................................................................................................... 10 Suggested Activities .............................................................................................................. 11 Summary ............................................................................................................................... 11 Toward establishing a Young Adult Council....................................................................... 11 1. Are you reaching out and receiving all persons?........................................................ 12 2. How are you seeking to help persons relate to God?................................................. 12 3. How are you "equipping" persons for their Christian discipleship? ............................. 12 4. Sending. ..................................................................................................................... 13 Contact Us............................................................................................................................. 13

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History and Background

The Richard Allen Youth Council was founded in Memphis, Tennessee, during the 150th celebration of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. The African Methodist Episcopal Church celebrated the Sesquicentennial Festival of Negro Methodism, June 22-27, 1937. It marked 150 years of progress by the AME Church since Richard Allen and his followers withdrew from St. George M.E. Church in Philadelphia, PA, in 1787. It was the beginning of a movement for self-help, self-movement, and self-direction in the religious life of people of African descent in America. This agency came from the vision of Dr. S. S. Morris, Sr., who committed to the idea of bringing existing youth organizations together in the format of a council. It was not the intent of the RAYC to replace any youth agency or organization. Each organization would keep its own identity. The primary goal of the RAYC was to coordinate and unify the total program, which the local church offered its youth.

The RAYAC Today

Richard Allen Young Adult Council (RAYAC) was born at the 45th Quadrennial Session of the AME Church, and is an outgrowth of the Richard Allen Youth Council (RAYC). The RAYAC no longer serves as an overseeing body of other youth organizations; it is now a group for young adults between the ages of 21-39. The goal of the RAYAC is to retain young adults to the Lord, the church, and to lead young adults to use their gifts and talents in the service of the Lord.

Before you Begin

Know that each RAYAC on the local church level are forced to develop their own programs within the church tailored to meet the diverse needs of their specific congregations while those on a conference, district and connectional levels must serve as a resource that connects these churches. As you begin to think about the focus of your work, reflect for a moment on these questions. Your responses will help you think about the people of your congregation and how your congregation's young adult ministries might be best served. You may want to discuss these questions with others in your core leadership group. · What are three reasons in establishing a RAYAC in your local church?

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· What are three concerns of young adults within your local church and community? · What do you believe young adults have about their community and their faith? · How do these relate to living as Christian disciples and good neighbors? · What existing or new programs should your congregation sponsor to attract and retain young adults in the local church? My vision or hope for our congregation's young adult is to: _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ During this year I will take the following steps toward making my vision a reality: _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ It has to start somewhere; it has to start sometime. What better place than here? What better time than now? --Rage Against the Machine

Starting a Young Adult Council in your Local Church

The following seven steps will help you to begin a young adult council in your church. Seven (7) Guidelines for establishing a young adult council

1. Organize a Core Leadership Team

Find one or more other people who share your vision for an active young adult council in your local church. Review the names of persons with your pastor. Organize a young adult council of six to twelve members depending upon the age demographics and depending on the size of your local church. In order to have a cross section of all young adults within the local church, the council should be composed of the following members: women and men; persons who are single, married, divorced, and widowed; persons representing a variety of ages and stages; persons with handicapping conditions; and persons representing multiracial and multicultural diversity.

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2. Gather Information about Young Adults

Develop a focus group to gather information and ideas of things that young adult may be looking for within the church. The focus groups represent a sampling or cross section of all young adults in the church (between the ages of 21 - 39) and/or community. You will want to ask specific questions concerning needs and interests of young adults in the focus group setting. An essential aspect of our ministry involves "reaching out and receiving persons." How well are you doing in reaching those who have been "outsiders" and those members who are only marginally involved? A. How many young adult members (between the ages 21-39) are in your congregation? _________ B. How many young adults are presently involved in one or more aspects of the church's ministry (including Sunday school, Bible Study, Missionary Society, Lay Organization, etc.)? __________ C. Identify some persons or groups of persons who are not involved in adult ministry activities ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ D. What programs or strategies do you now have in place to reach these persons or groups? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ E. What are some ways your adult council could begin addressing its concern for reaching the unchurched? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ Don't be afraid to ask young adult that don't go to church, what they are or would be looking for in a church? Don't be afraid to ask young adult that attend your church but not participate in other church organizations, what are they in need of? Think of 2 questions that you would ask a non-church go'er? _____________________________________________________________

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_____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ Think of 2 questions that you would ask a person that is not very much involved in church activities (outside of the 11:00 service)? _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________ After you have established your organization, invite the person to a meeting and service.

3. Identify Existing Church Programs

Not all churches are called to create a young adult council or organization, but all churches are called to minister with young adults the questions that each person should ask is in what ways can my local church best minister to our young adults? Review current church programs and activities for the previous year or two. Identify all the programs and activities that involved / attract the young adults in the congregations. Evaluate the effectiveness of the program and determine whether or not the activity is an ongoing event. Are your current programs reaching the young adults in your church? ________ List the program(s) that reach out to the young adults in you church. _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________

4. Design a Program for the Young Adult Council in Your Local Church

After you have gathered information about the young adults in your local church, evaluated existing church programs, and develop a list of new ideas that can be used to attract and retain the young adults in your church. If that list is long, remember you can not do everything all at once, prioritize the list and implement one or two new programs and get those established before tackling the remainder of the list.

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5. Set Goals and Objectives

Goals will identify what program you want to have, who will lead, who will participate, and when it is to be done. Objectives will identify how you plan to accomplish your goals. List 4 goals that your would like to see accomplished in your local church with respect to attracting and retaining young adults. _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________________ List 2 objectives that you desire to see happen. ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________

6. Implement the Program

After establishing a time line for implementing the program and the various process steps along the way, put the plan for ministry into action. It takes time!

7. Evaluate

Your goals and objectives should be evaluated periodically to determine the effectiveness of the program. As time progress, some of your goals and objective may change. Don't just get feedback from the young adult council; ask the members who have and especially those who have not attended functions. Remember to ask the pastor his/her view of your progress, after each activity until everything has been successfully established. If feedback warrants it, continue the program. Sometimes we may have to revamp a program to make sure that we a satisfying the established goals. Remember nothing in this world beats a failure but a try! Key words to keep in mind as you evaluate your adult council are these: Reaching Relating Teaching

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Nurturing Guiding Equipping

Sending Supporting Facilitating

What programs or activities have been designed primarily to provide ministry for young adults, do you now have in place? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ What are some additional programs or activities that might be needed to more adequately minister to and with your young adult members? ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________

Connecting your pre-existing young adult organization with the RAYAC

For those churches that have a pre-existing Young Adult Council or organization/group, we would like to gather information about what you have already set up. Then share that information with other churches or point a church that is starting a Young Adult Council that would like to set up an RAYAC similar to your church, in your direction.

Issues Facing Today's Young Adults

Some of the needs and issues facing today's young adults include the following: · Learning to pray effectively · Effective peer witnessing · General relationship issues o Parents o Roommates/Friends o Boyfriend/Girlfriend o Husband/Wife o Children · Beginning a new job or professional career · Family issues o Starting a family o Finding a spouse

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· How to redeem culture/build bridges for more effective witnessing · Explore the teachings of other religions so we're not ignorant on what they say · Meeting/connecting w/others · Being integrated w/church at large o Ways to do this: Small groups; Change current status of young adults involvement in the church at large · Want more interaction w/rest of church-younger and older o Mentoring, prayer, and counsel · Encourage the development of a more diverse congregation o Make contact w/international church members o Begin the dialogue-invite special/outside groups to come in

Things to Avoid

When you start the Young Adult Council it should not become a church group for your friends. Its original goal / intent were to get other young adults involved in church. · Communication is essential. Keep the lines open between your core leadership group, the pastor, members of your local RAYAC and the district office · Be money smart. Choose your finance person carefully, and get those requests in on time! It's OK to ask for help when you need it, and before you get desperate. · Watch out for burnout and for cliques. It's important to bring new people into the core leadership group fairly regularly. But don't forget to pass on the little tricks and techniques you've learned, and the spirit of the council. · You don't have to do it all alone. There is no "I" in Team. Involve people who aren't a part of the core leadership group in special projects. Draw on other resources within the church and district leadership development and support in ticklish situations. · Be creative, and keep things fresh so to keep everyone's attention. Try to do a different activity every year be it a trip, concert, play or another activity. We have a tendency to start turning away from the same old stuff.

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· Remember that 21 - 39 is a very large age group and you don't want to plan activities that exclude one side of the spectrum from the other side. You may have to do more to make sure everyone feels included in your plans and activities.

Suggested Activities

Below is a simple list of activities to try out in your local church. · Having a Young Adult Bible Study · Have a Holy Happy Hour at a local restaurant to meet new people and build relationships · Fun outings to play or to a concert (have dinner as a group before you attend) that are coming to town · Have shopping trips · Plan a weekend retreat with other Young Adult Council · Plan an all day cruise with a seminar or workshop · Have dinners/cookouts-progressive dinners · Have events that will connect Young Adults with other Young Adult from other churches. · Perform a community service project · Making more friends at church · Various Sub Ministries in the Church

Summary

Toward establishing a Young Adult Council Developing a young adult council is doing what needs to be done in your local church to ensure that you are reaching out to all persons, helping them to relate their lives to God though Jesus Christ, helping them to grow in Christian faith, and sending them back into the community to do God's work in the world.

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1. Are you reaching out and receiving all persons?

Our concern for young adults must express itself in our evangelistic mission of witnessing to our faith and inviting others to become a part of our faith fellowship. All young adults are the object of God's love and concern. We do not make a distinction in our reaching out; however, we do identify and address distinctive needs. Invite your young adult council to respond to the following, jotting down responses on newsprint. List ways you are now "reaching out." What are some additional ways you could reach out?

2. How are you seeking to help persons relate to God?

Once persons are received, how do you go about ensuring they are supported in their search for a growing relationship with God? What types of group / activities would be especially helpful in providing this kind of support? List some ways you are helping persons in their search for a closer relationship with God through the church. What are some additional ways you could help these persons in their spiritual journey?

3. How are you "equipping" persons for their Christian discipleship?

The author of Ephesians talks about "equipping the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ" (Ephesians 4:12 RSV). "New" Christians need special attention. You may have young adults coming into your church who have little experience of "church" and who have practically no background in Bible study or Christian education. Even lifelong members of the congregation need to continue to grow in faith. What programs/activities does your church offer to "equip" persons for ministry? What additional programs/ministries might be needed to help persons grow in the faith and in their skills for Christian living?

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4. Sending.

The strength of the church is not measured in terms of the numbers of persons who come to the church, but by what happens in the world as a result of their having come. It is easy for a church to become ingrown, to be focused on what is going on "inside" the church building. The ultimate test of effective discipleship in and through a congregation or an individual Christian is to be found in the family, the workplace, the political arena, and in relationships with neighbors? What kinds of "sending" ministries do you have? What additional ways could your adult council provide avenues/opportunities for adults to be in ministry? What are some ministries that can be done collaboratively with other congregations? Acts 1:11 "Men of Galilee, why do you stand there looking into heaven?"

Contact Us

To find out more information about the RAYAC please visit the web site at www.rayac.org

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