How to Build Relationships with the Young Adult Catholics in Your City

When I transitioned from being a campus missionary to working at our headquarters in Denver, I didn’t think I would be leading another Bible study anytime soon. Denver has an awesome young adult scene: there are events to go to and sports leagues to join. I was excited to dive in and exist in the community for a while. I planned on volunteering at my parish, but not doing much else.

Unfortunately, it is not the norm in most parishes for relational ministry to happen over small-group Bible studies. I missed that, and I missed the joy that came with introducing my peers to Christ.

At its core, evangelization is about relationships. It’s about your relationship with Jesus and introducing Him to your friends. Programs and events are great, but they are nothing without relationships. So it was no surprise that it felt like something was missing when I went to these events alone.

When I started to feel this void in my parish, I prayed for a community and I asked God to give it to me. I asked Him to bless me with friends and a small group and women to respond to His love with. I wanted someone to initiate this and to give me what my heart was longing for. I wanted to find a Bible study that existed and to join it. I looked, but I couldn’t seem to find one. So instead of acting, I complained to Jesus in my prayer.

Over and over again, God would gently say to me, “But haven’t I equipped you to do this?” John 21:15-17 resonated in my heart: “Do you love me? Feed my sheep.”

I finally gave in and posted in a Facebook group that I would be starting a Bible Study:

11 women responded. We gathered over pizza in my basement, and the recurring theme of the first evening was just how much everyone was thirsting for something like this: for friends to journey towards Heaven with and to pour over scripture with. I could have kicked myself for waiting so long to create this Bible study.

We met weekly during the rest of my time in Denver. Following Jesus with these women helped my relationship with Him grow in a way that simply going to young adult events could not.

Now, I’m in a new city and I’m experiencing a similar longing. While there are plenty of young adult groups and events, there is not a culture of relational ministry or pouring into scripture. This time, instead of complaining to Jesus about it, I am going to answer the call and do something about it.

Have you experienced something similar? Do you miss the intimacy of a small group of individuals running towards Christ together? Is there a lack of young adult community in your parish? Or at your university? Are you waiting around for someone to do something about it like I was?

When we’re in college, there is always someone else encouraging you to start. If you’re a FOCUS student, it’s your missionary or your friend. If you’re a missionary, it’s your regional director or team director. Once you get out into the “real world,” though, there probably won’t be someone giving you that nudge.

“Do you love me? Feed my sheep.”

What better way to do that through a Bible study? The most joyful and meaningful moments of my life have been those where I’ve run alongside someone else pursing Christ. God just might be inviting you to experience the same.

Michelle Lippoli
Michelle Lippoli
Michelle has lived in seven different states – eight, if you count FOCUS Summer Training (which she does). She graduated from Drake University in 2012 with a degree in Psychology. She served as a FOCUS Missionary for 2.5 years at the University of Nebraska Lincoln and on the Events Team. She is now living out lifelong Catholic mission working in Higher Education in Chicago. She is a lover of cats, cities, lists, Delta Gamma, and summer camp.

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