Every moment of service in Jesus’ name is important to the mission of the Church. In our inaugural year, Lutheran Young Adult Corps participants will complete over 19,000 hours of service to help Community Partners reach out with the Gospel of Jesus Christ through acts of mercy.
Lutheran Young Adult Corps provides opportunities for young adults (18-26) to grow in a community of faith and service through long-term, full-time service in urban ministry settings.
The goal of Lutheran Young Adult Corps is to provide a supportive, life-changing program for young people to gain valuable experience, deepen their faith and share Jesus through acts of mercy.
In doing this, we also expand the capacity of LCMS congregations and organizations to share the Gospel. This expanded ministry brings the Gospel to those in and out of the church walls, encouraging their faith growth.
“The Lutheran Young Adult Corps gave me opportunities to try new things and help other people. I discovered so many new ways to love and serve others. I learned to be more comfortable offering my help and finding out how I can contribute to various projects with the unique gifts and talents I have been given.” — Alex, a summer participant
After years of preparation, Lutheran Young Adult Corps launched in June 2017 with our first group of five young adults serving for 10 weeks in the summer.
As they completed their time of service and returned to colleges across the country, 12 young adults embarked on a 10-month gap year of service.
These young adults are still serving full time in four cities (St. Louis, New Orleans, Boston, and Baton Rouge). Each participant serves an average of 40 hours per week. They share housing during their service. City Coordinators oversee and provide support in every location.
“Everyone here, from my supervisor and her family, the other employees, to the sites we work with and the people we meet on the street open my eyes to what it really means to love people. I am learning what it means to give more than you get, to work more than you rest, to love more than you breathe, and to see Christ when you look at another person. It’s not an easy lesson, but it’s worth it, and I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to learn it.” — Madison, a gap year participant
Lutheran Young Adult Corps works with LCMS congregations, campus ministries, and Recognized Service Organizations that we collectively call Community Partners.
In 2017-18, we worked with 13 different Community Partners. Participants serve in any number of ways from preparing and leading servant events to mentoring at-risk students, from providing communication and administrative help to coordinating homeless ministry.
There is no typical day in Lutheran Young Adult Corps. Each participant has a unique placement, tailored to their skills and passions.
One day is spent serving the staff of a cruise ship, helping them send money home and retrieve needed supplies. The next day is spent preparing songs and Bible stories to teach to preschoolers.
“My best moment so far was when I realized, yes, I can do this. And by ‘this,’ I mean everything from navigating public transportation alone to interacting with the homeless to mastering the ins and outs of my service opportunity to surrendering to God the worries that come with being away from home for so long. The term ‘urban mission work’ is intimidating. But when I break it down for myself right now, it means entering a hurting city and learning how to let God use me in both the quiet and chaotic moments to act mercifully toward his people.” — A gap year participant
These passionate, gifted young adults come into their service with an openness to do any hard work put before them. They step outside of their comfort zone and take on large challenges to share the Gospel.
One Community Partner supervisor commented on how much joy their participants bring to the long-time staff. Their willingness to go where God leads and love those put before them is evidence in all they do.
These young adults bring energy and encouragement in all their interactions.
As Lutheran Young Adult Corps approaches the end of our first year, we are incredibly grateful to our young people, our Community Partners, our City Coordinators, and to all the local congregation who support our young people.
We are preparing now to place a new group of young adults in 2018-19. We could not do so without your prayers and support.
With each placement we know that God will use young people to impact God’s Kingdom in mighty ways, now and in the future.
Julianna Shults is program manager of the Lutheran Young Adult Corps, which provides long-term service opportunities for young adults in The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.