Home Reaching Young Adults in the City - Issue #209 (October 15, 2014)

Reaching Young Adults in the City - Issue #209 (October 15, 2014)

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BrokenBuilders UMC (www.B3M.org) is a five-year-old community of faith located in Manhattan that reaches out to Korean and Korean-American young adults. Many of these young adults are 1.5 generation (born in Korea, but moved to the United States before the age of 18) or second generation (their parents were born in Korea; they were born in the US). The senior pastor of BrokenBuilders says, “Although the city has much to offer, young people are having difficulties finding their place due to anonymity, the overflow of people, and the superficiality of relationships. Many of these young adults were raised in a Christian family, but they stopped attending church when they moved away from home. They are coming now to our congregation after a long search for true values and genuine relationships in life.”

Located in the East Village, the congregation operates a café that is designated as a Christian community center for students and young professionals. The congregation is building partnerships with local bakeries to offer beverages and pastries to café visitors. The congregation’s ministry focuses on connecting college and graduate students and young professionals with an intimate faith community, especially through its small-group ministries.

The congregation perceives small groups as “what this church is made of, not a program made by the church.” They built their ministry model on Ephesians 2:22, “In Christ Jesus you also are built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.” An associate pastor at BrokenBuilders describes the church’s small groups as “providing an open and welcoming environment for those who first walk through our door. Our small-group ministry creates a space for new and returning young believers to join in the community of Christ and taste the beauty of intimate, authentic relationships with God and with people.”

BrokenBuilders supports ten peer ministers on five college campuses in Downtown Manhattan. The congregation equips these peer ministers to facilitate small groups on each campus. The peer ministers lead weekly gatherings for Bible study and prayer. They are also responsible for identifying other young adults who can begin new groups. They share prayer requests and needs with the pastoral staff of BrokenBuilders. Members of these campus-based small groups can enjoy a hot meal and fellowship six evenings a week. They are also invited to participate in a praise and prayer service each Friday at 9:00 p.m.

BrokenBuilders envisions continuing to cultivate small groups and to offer worship that can reconnect today’s culturally disconnected young generations with God and the church.

Questions for Discussion

  • How is your church connecting to college students and young professionals?
  • Who in your community is looking for authentic relationships with God and other people?
  • How are you using small groups to create opportunities for spiritual growth for new people and/or those returning to your faith community? What changes can you make to be more intentional about reaching these people?


Craig Kennet Miller is the Director of Congregational Development at Discipleship Ministries. He can be reached at [email protected].


Romans 12 Newsletter. Issue #209. © 2014 Discipleship Ministries. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to copy this newsletter for use in United Methodist congregations. This newsletter is provided as a service of Discipleship Ministries and is funded through World Service apportionment giving by local United Methodist congregations.