Bibimbap Night - Issue #119
A recent study from the College Transition Project of the Fuller Youth Institute indicates that the first two weeks are a pivotal time in a student’s college experience. Decisions made during that time period will set the direction for how the person transitions into young adulthood, including the role that faith will play.
To help young people feel welcomed and valued during this critical period, Korean United Methodist Church of New Haven, Connecticut has introduced Bibimbap Night for freshman attending the many colleges and universities in the New Haven area. Bibimbap, meaning "mixed meal," is a favorite Korean dish that includes rice, meat, egg, vegetables, and other ingredients mixed with chili pepper paste. During the evening, in addition to eating a tasty meal, the students play a variety of games that help them get to know one another.
While the congregational hosts are careful not to pressure unsettled freshmen into attending the church, they do begin the evening with prayer and provide a brief introduction to the church’s ministries and worship services. Many times people bring their friends just to eat, but then they learn more about the church, get to know the people, and start coming to church.
Bibimbap Night provides an opportunity for freshmen to meet new friends and to connect to a faith community. But Biblimap Night has also had a positive effect on the rest of the congregation. Members who had not previously been engaged in leadership have stepped forward to support this ministry that celebrates the church’s culture and supports young adults in their faith journey.
Some Questions for Discussion
How could your congregation use its unique heritage to create opportunities for those new to the community to connect with the church?
How could you help young adults, who have left your congregation for work or college, connect to a faith community in their new location within the first two weeks of moving?
What are you doing to support the faith journey of those transitioning from youth to young adulthood?