I don’t normally spend a lot of time in this space talking about programs, or doing “promotion.” But occasionally, something comes up that has such a power and impact that I can’t help but write about it.
“Young Adults in Global Mission” (YAGM) is, I believe, one of the most powerful and transformational programs of our denomination, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. Really.
Watch this 2-minute video to see what volunteers say about their experience:
Young adults (ages 21-29) who apply to YAGM commit to a year of service at an ELCA mission site somewhere around the world. YAGM volunteers currently serve in:
- Central Europe
- Jerusalem/West Bank
- United Kingdom
I know young people who have served in the YAGM program. They have told me about the amazing, powerful and transformational experiences they have had while serving. They have talked about the amazing opportunity to accompany people in their lives and faith in a culture totally different from our own.
Some apply and serve in YAGM as a “gap year” program in the middle of their education, and others take the year to serve as a transition when they graduate from school, or when they find themselves “between” jobs.
YAGM volunteers serve in whatever capacity is most needed in the community where they are called. In the past, YAGM volunteers have served in health and development, congregational ministry, human rights, education, homelessness, addiction recovery, women’s issues, and children and youth. All of the site placements provide opportunities for young adults to confront issues of wealth and poverty, racial privilege, economic disparity and globalization, all through the lens of faith.
YAGM volunteers receive a lot of support and care as they serve. Each country where YAGM volunteers are placed have a country coordinator who works with and tends the volunteers in their area.
We are a church that believes that God is calling us into the world. The ELCA’s Young Adults in Global Mission program is one of those ways that we can go, discover, learn and serve in ways that change lives. And it is one of the programs of the church of which I am most proud.
If you are a young adult (or if you know a young adult who you think might be interested), I strongly encourage you to look into the YAGM program. I’d be glad to answer any questions you might have…or direct you towards someone who could answer them for you.