Growing up Protestant, the path of life in church was a bit ambiguous. There was Sunday school (classes for all ages), youth group, singles group, and then a bunch of other evangelization ministries for your way to becoming married. When I became Catholic, that same rule of generality applied, and sometimes the line even blurred between youth and young adults. “Youth” seems to refer to anyone between the ages of twelve and eighteen, and “young adult” refers to “late teens, twenties, and thirties.” (Sons and Daughters of the Light: A Pastoral Plan for Ministry with Young Adults, USCCB, 1996)
Young adult ministry has long been an uncertain phenomenon. Within the Church, there are often youth programs, but many parishes lack young adult outreach or only start to minister to them once they are married or out of college.
Many years ago, my husband and I were founding members of a thriving young adult community. A friend identified the need for more evangelization and community, and developed a three-pillar program to bring young adults together for social nights, faith formation, and invitations to prayer. Many of us were single or newly married, and we would spend our Friday evenings learning about the Church and playing lawn games around a bonfire late into the night.