In the Young Adult Ministry, we exist to create a community where young adults can connect together and experience the love of God. This is why we exist! And it was happening. Our young adults were meeting in the building for pick-up basketball, volleyball, for board games, for hang outs, to cook together, and they’ll even meet outside to eat together and socialize—all on top of our YA.Nights that would happen on Sunday nights. Young adults not only love to congregate, but they NEED to congregate. They are one of the loneliest generations ever! Then COVID happened. So you can imagine that when everything shut down, how devastating this could be. BUT, God—in His goodness—found a way. Right after the shutdown, we first started with having ya.nights on Zoom. We found out quickly how much the lockdown had affected our young adults. Many would stay on till 5 or 6 in the morning! I was getting up when some of them were still chatting online!
Our leadership team quickly shifted gears knowing and seeing the need for our YA community, and THEY STEPPED UP! It was a great time to experiment. We had workout nights on Tuesday nights where our young adults gathered on Zoom and worked out together; a Q&R night on Friday nights where we had a chance to get to know our pastors and counsellors and have a chance to grill them with questions; YA.Nights on Sunday nights where we learned, we discussed, and we had fun; and, of course, our LifeGroups continued as well!
Our social media team not only grew in volunteers, but they grew in strategy. They have been shifting from just posting a post, to creating a story when they post to help engage our young adults, and engage them into our community.
And though disappointed we could not go to the Dominican Republic this year due to COVID, it did not crush the OnMission heart and spirit. Many of our young adults felt the need to help in our community, and so our go strategy shifted a bit and YA.Cares was birthed. Young adults were stepping up to help our refugee community move and get settled. Our young adults went out and delivered groceries, medication, and other needs to those who were unable to leave their houses due to COVID. We had a chance to partner with Pastor Rod and deliver care packages to all the grade 12s who were graduating. They even went and blessed our pastors with gift baskets knowing they were working even harder in a time when shifting gears was important. All of this was done on their own time, money, and enthusiasm.
Our gatherings on Sunday nights saw an uptick in newcomers, as the need for community was even greater during COVID. We were seeing newcomers each week looking to join our community, both from within the Markham community and outside. The benefit of being online has been that it has allowed for friends who do not live in the GTA to join with us. Our “Before I Say” seminars also had a rise in group members, as we shifted to meeting on Zoom instead of in person, allowing for couples from all over Ontario to participate.
It’s been a different year for sure, but God’s still alive and has been working in our church and in our young adult ministry! We tried new things as a result of COVID. Some were a success, and others, not so much. At the end of the day, we are so grateful for our counsellors, lead teams, and volunteers; not only for their heart and dedication to the ministry, but their willingness to shift so quickly in these unprecedented times, so thank you, volunteers.
And if you want more information about what we did in our Young Adult Ministry and different stats, check out the information below.