Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church is one of 12 congregations nationwide chosen to develop a new form of intergenerational youth ministry over the next three years.
Fifth Avenue will receive a $15,000 grant through the Log College Project at Princeton Theological Seminary. This project is funded by the Lilly Endowment, and created and administered by the Institute for Youth Ministry at Princeton Seminary. (Read about the 12 participating congregations here.)
“This is a remarkable opportunity for us to rethink what youth ministry looks like at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church,” says the Rev. Werner Ramirez, associate pastor for youth and young adult ministries. “Youth ministry is a unique challenge for us. We are not a neighborhood church. We have youth coming from every borough and New Jersey, and their lives are incredibly full. This grant gives us the tools to reinvent, to create a program that provides our youth with the community experience they are looking for. This may also be a ministry that other urban congregations can benefit from.”
Werner developed and submitted Fifth Avenue’s application for the project, with assistance from parents and youth and with input from the congregation. The church was selected from among more than 200 applicants across North America.
Over the next three years, Fifth Avenue’s “design team” will follow a program devised by the Log College Project that will guide them in envisioning, planning and implementing a new, intergenerational youth ministry specific to our congregation. In addition to Werner, Fifth Avenue’s team includes Mary, Jacqueline and Olivia Lovci; Gina and Lia Robertson; Dave and Will Sytsma; and youth volunteer Shayla Allen.
The 12 participating congregations will receive a digital curriculum to help team members dig deeper into theology, design-thinking, and Biblical foundations for innovation in youth ministry. The Fifth Avenue team also will participate in a “design lab” event next summer, which will gather influential leaders in youth ministry, as well as innovative business leaders, to work with the congregations.
“At this point, I have no idea what we will come up with, but I’m incredibly excited to do it alongside our youth and parents,” Werner says. “Our youth are not just the church of the future, but the church of the here and now. What better way to show this than to empower them to build a youth ministry that will last.”