Young Adults at First UMC, Pearland Help Create Emerge Worship Service

Date Posted: 10/23/2014

Featuring eclectic, acoustic music and an intimate seating style, First UMC Pearland’s new Emerge Worship is for young adults seeking a different approach to church.

First UMC, Pearland is posing this question and others via social media to young adults: What if worship was a conversation? According to the pastor for the new service, Rev. Melody Kraus, the young adults 18-35 within the church have had an active role in creating the new Emerge Worship service that starts November 2. Notes Melody, “Emerge is being designed with input from many as a place to build relationships, create community and share life-relevant teaching in a casual atmosphere. It will feature eclectic, acoustic music and an intimate seating style of teaching – in the round – with participants in view of each other and the altar in the center.”
Reaching this Demographic
Knowing that Christianity’s role within the present culture can be confusing to many, First UMC Pearland is facilitating a service that resonates with young adults and provides a place for asking questions. “We want to reach out to the unchurched and under-churched in our community, and we have several dozen young adults in the congregation that are making that happen through personal invitation, Facebook and Twitter.” Additionally, the church has blitzed the neighboring zip codes with direct mail and an article in the Pearland Journal. “We were surprised to find 500 names in that age category within our membership database, and now we are motivated to get them connected with each other and God in a new way,” she adds. “Those involved in the task force bringing this opportunity into greater focus enjoyed visiting other services in town to better describe what resonated with them. Several from within our community will help lead praise and worship and help facilitate ‘Continue the Conversation’ groups following worship – two on campus and one at a place of the group’s choosing each week.”

Young adults are coming back to church and getting involved more than ever. “Personally, I am super pumped about this new worship opportunity,” says Brittny Fisher. “I feel like when people are in that stage between college and having kids, the church kind of forgets about them sometimes, and there is not a big attempt at building a sense of community. This Emerge Worship service is giving all the ‘misfits’ another place they can belong and feel comfortable. What is also super awesome about this service, is that it does not exclude those still in school, or those with kids.” Adds Brittny, "It is not about age, it's about stage. This is a new kind of worship service designed for closeness with the Lord, and with each other, regardless of where you are in life and in your journey as a Christian. It won't be a huge, theatrical production. It will just be something new for anyone that needs or wants it. Jesus will be there either way so I hope everyone will give it a chance.”
Meghan Plymell Perez echoes that sentiment. “As a young adult desiring a more authentic worship experience, I couldn't be more excited for the new Emerge service. A few young adults and myself ventured out among other church services in our area and after each service we would commune to discuss our opinions and observations. Interestingly, some of us would notice things that others wouldn't and vice versa.

We all experienced the services differently. It is a wonderful feeling knowing that something we really enjoyed at another location is being incorporated into our new worship service. For me, I would like to take communion every Sunday. It is a reminder of the greatest sacrifice that anyone has ever made.

To have that reminder every week instead of once a month, helps me to stay in the mind set that forgiveness was given at a great price; the blood and body of my Lord, Jesus Christ. November 2nd cannot get here quick enough. My prayer is that this new opportunity will reach out to others inside and outside of the church. Everyone should know and feel that they are loved and have a community that accepts them.”
Adds Melody, “I am excited to see our young adults taking ownership and creating a service that is being birthed by their unique view of authenticity, relationships and transformation.”
Haley Brown is also counting the days. "I am so unbelievably excited for Emerge to begin! I have been waiting for a place to be able to experience worship in a completely different way for longer than I can remember. And it's hard to say that I've been looking or waiting for Emerge, because I don't think I've ever experienced anything like what I hope this is going to be. But I have been wanting more, something different, something authentic and relevant, something that has the potential to transform our world every Sunday. I want something that will allow me to be an active participant in worship, not a spectator. I believe Emerge is going to give young adults, and more importantly, people who have been turned off by religion or church, a place and space and home to do that."
Emerge Worship will celebrate the Sacrament of Holy Communion every week by gathering around the table to experience, share and live the grace of God. “We encourage all who are seeking more to life to ‘Come as you are. Married or single, or with families as childcare is available,’” Melody adds. Learn more about Emerge Worship at