Young Adult Leadership Lab Gaede Institute

For many in their twenties, young adulthood is a time of growing awareness of their own identities and gifts, the real needs of the world, and the ways they might be called to serve God’s kingdom. But this is also a time of life when people are less likely to participate in a church community. That's a loss to young adults, but it's also a loss to congregations, who miss the chance to be challenged and refreshed by the experiences of young adulthood. 

Westmont's Young Adult Leadership Lab (YALL) brings together young adults and California churches to explore their vocations together. In a multi-year learning community, we partner with congregations and twentysomthings to explore new modes of gathering and listening, to innovatively follow the prompting of the Spirit, and to reflect on how we're being shaped as Christ's disciples. 

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Upcoming Events

YALL in Practice

Learn in Community

  • Listen to the voices of young adults as they reflect on their stories of faith and lives in the church.
  • Enhance your congregational understanding of the spiritual and social lives of young adults.

Experiment with New Ministry Ideas

  • Explore your congregational context as you consider new opportunities for ministry with young adults.
  • Design, test, and refine innovative ministries with young adults.
  • Receive funding for your ministries.

Reflect and Refine your Work

  • Share your learnings and insights with the YALL community and your congregation.
  • Celebrate progess and keep experimenting.

Congregational Grants

Thanks to the generosity of Lilly Endowment Inc., participating congregations are invited to apply for funding for up to $30,000 to design and launch innovative ministries in parternship with young adults. 

Key Program Information

Our 2023-2026 Young Adult Leadership Lab learning community will launch in spring 2023 with our first annual gathering, to be held at Westmont College May 19-22, 2023. Participating congregations are asked to: 

  • Select a team of five church members (including at least one pastor and one lay leader, and one to three young adults) to participate in the learning community gatherings. We understand that team members may need to change over the course of the cohort. 
  • Participate in the Young Adult Leadership Lab launch in May 2023.  
  • Attend one overnight retreat at Westmont College in each of our cohort years (2024, 2025, and 2026). Retreat dates will be selected in consultation with participating church teams.
  • Share insights, learnings, and plans with the YALL learning community and your congregation. 

The May 2023 gathering will feature interactive opportunities for church teams to learn more about the social and spiritual lives of young adults through activities that highlight the voices of young adults. There will also be ample opportunities for fellowship as we explore the Santa Barbara area together.

Thanks to the generous support of Lilly Endowment Inc., all Young Adult Leadership Lab activities are offered free of charge to participating church teams, including travel costs to and from Santa Barbara for our annual gatherings. 

Christian congregations in California are eligible to participate in the Young Adult Leadership Lab. 

We'd love to talk with you about the Young Adult Leadership Lab! Please contact Christen Foell (cfoell@westmont.edu) or Sarah Garland (sgarland@westmont.edu) to set up an in-person or virtual conversation.

The Young Adult Leadership Lab is one of four programs at Westmont that help churches and individuals explore God’s call. If you work with high school youth, we invite you to learn more about Trailhead, a summer experience that invites young people to slow down and see how their lives might participate in God’s work. If you’re a pastor, please consider Frontiers, a program that supports ministry professionals through seasons of visioning and transition. Thriving Communities gathers churches to explore how we can see and do the work God calls us to on California's Central Coast.