Sometimes, to answer an inner calling we know is important, we have to step outside of our comfort zone, especially if it’s something God wants us to do. When Immanuel member AJ Weller returned home after graduating from the University of Illinois a few years ago, he missed the fellowship he enjoyed with young adults his own age at the church he’d attended on campus. While looking for a similar ministry in this area earlier this summer, his mother suggested he start one at Immanuel Lutheran. AJ said the thought of starting a ministry for young adults seemed quite intimidating, but he knew that if he wanted to enjoy what he had been looking for since college, he would have to take the lead and do something about it.
AJ, who is also the leader and coordinator of the AV team, came up with the idea of a 20s and 30s Ministry and presented the idea to Pastor Tom and Pastor Warren. AJ then met with Pastor Warren a few times to discuss some ideas and get feedback. Originally, it wasn’t part of the Stronger Together campaign, but the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. One of the goals of the campaign is to expand the body of Christ, particularly among youth and young adults. The 20s and 30s Ministry shares that goal, hoping to eventually bring the ministry to other churches in the community and to also reach out to non-believers as well.
Pastor Tom, Pastor Warren and AJ decided that the best time for the group to first meet would be at Blessings, Backpacks, and Barbecue at the Bandshell event in August. It was an ideal social atmosphere with food and entertainment already provided. The first few meetings thereafter were primarily social events allowing the group to get to know each other before diving into Bible study.
The group has three components to its ministry known as the three S’s – study, service, and social. The 20s and 30s Ministry meets every Sunday at 1:00pm for Bible study. They’re studying Hebrews right now and will follow up with James or Revelation next. As of this writing, just under 20 people have signed up for the group. They’ve participated in our Paint-a-thon, attended Palatine Streetfest, and went to Chicago together to celebrate Thanksgiving and engage in a Chicago-based Lutheran fellowship.
Immanuel Lutheran, as a church and part of the body of Christ, heard the call to expand our mission and ministry by reaching out into the community and planting the seeds of our faith. AJ heard that same call as one young man seeking to fulfill God’s plan by answering the yearning in his heart despite his own misgivings. It certainly is encouraging and inspiring to witness an example of this generation’s desire to expand the body of Christ.
For more information about 20s and 30s Ministry, contact AJ Weller at firstname.lastname@example.org.