Thanks to Christa Meland for sharing this Great Idea from Rick Belbutoski of Hennepin Avenue UMC.

Rick Belbutoski, director of youth and young adult ministries at Hennepin Avenue UMC in Minneapolis, recently got to thinking about a way to connect with young adults while making the barrier to entry as low as possible.

He came up with Cinema and the Street: a documentary showing, followed by conversation and reflection, which leads to pertinent, local social/justice engagement. Belbutoski found his documentary list at, an online subscription-based video streaming service that curates excellent documentaries and speakers, perfect for sharing with young adult and teen audiences.

In Bold Directions for Dangerous Times, Dr. Carl Krieg encourages congregations to consider a two-stem approach to congregational life, moving forward: one stem of which carries on with traditional gatherings of worship and education; the other stem of which invites people to engage through conversation and service around issues that are important to them.

In Smelling Like Sheep, Father Richard Rohr makes a comparable assertion, reflecting on the compassion of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi, who, “led, not from above, and not even from below, but from within by walking with their brothers and sisters, or ‘smelling like sheep,’ as Pope Francis puts it…” Inviting people to participate in addressing locally significant issues, without requiring them to believe or conform or even engage with faith as your congregation expresses it, is “leading from within” and “walking with” siblings and neighbors.

In his post, Multiple Names for God (10.02.21), Matthew Fox reminds us, ‘The great medieval mystic Meister Eckhart challenges us when he declares: ‘The highest and loftiest thing that a person can let go of is to let go of God for the sake of God.'”

We may be at a time in history when for God’s sake – and for our world’s sake – and for the sake of our relationships with both God and the world – we need to “let go of God” in order to draw closer to God, one another, and creation.

Congregations anywhere can use Belbutoski’s digitally-based engagement for young adult and youth outreach or group enrichment.’ s 100+ videos ensures that you will find subject matter pertinent to your context. Inviting folks to address the needs of your community is absolutely a way to engage young adults – who are keen to volunteer – in the life of your community and your congregation.

You can read Christa’s invitational article here.

You can get further information and register to participate in Hennepin Avenue UMC’s Cinema and the Street here.

This is, indeed, a GREAT IDEA!! Adapt for your setting for meaningful outreach to young people as you joyfully embody Christ in community-building work.