For fourteen years I served as the United Methodist campus minister on this campus, working to provide community and leadership opportunities for the students of that community. I would get invited to come speak to local churches and conferences in the region about ministry with young adults. I would always tell the churches the same message: if you want young adults in your congregation you have to do more than simply welcome them in, you have to let them serve in leadership. The churches would have to offer them much more than a seat in the choir or a job keeping an eye on the pre-schoolers.
See, young adults, I’d warn them, know the difference between being offered a meangiful role and being asked to make the church look like a church with young people in it. Between being a part of the community and being “window dressing.” Between diversity and inclusion.
Of course young adults are not the only ones who can perceive that difference. Racial and ethnic minorities know the difference between diversity and inclusion. Religious and cultural minorities know when they’re asked to be a part of the mosaic and when they’re given a chance to participate in the mechanisms of decision making. Now, diversity is a good thing. If a community is diverse, it should reflect that diversity outwardly. But diversity is only half the struggle.
What is the Kay Spiritual Life Center all about? We're an interfaith center, home to two dozen religious communities, and a place for AU students, faculty, and staff to reflect on meaning, find purpose, and build community.
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