Christ Armenian Church (CAC) in La Crescenta, CA was selected to participate in Ministry Innovations with Young Adults (MIYA), with a cohort of 17 churches from across the U.S., at Fuller Seminary and Fuller Youth Institute (FYI). This program was introduced to the church through Elizabeth Manasserian who was a student at Fuller Seminary at that time. MIYA dedicated financial and educational resources for a 2-year period beginning in February 2019 to teach the gospel and bring the good news of Jesus Christ to young adults who attend the church.
CAC Young Adult Director Elizabeth Manasserian, Youth Pastor Shervin Youseffian, and two young adults, Johnney Baghramian and Shana Aroutiounian attended a conference in February 2020 and met on a weekly basis to study and go over the MIYA materials. The team learned from FYI experts regarding issues facing emerging and young adults and how to empathize and listen to the losses and longings of the 18-35 age group adults and present the hope of the gospel by meeting them where they are.
The program consisted of introduction of Christian Practices such as Lamentation, Testimony, Hospitality, Sabbath, Justice, Vocation and several others. These practices were used to guide young adults towards a Jesus-centered narrative and gave them godly and spiritual perspective on life. FYI helped them provide10-week sessions to bring the truths of the Christian Practices using the Scriptures, bringing young adults closer to the Word and the knowledge of God and our Savior.
During the two-year MIYA program, the CAC team organized two 10-week sessions called “Journey of Life” for young adults ages 18-35. The first Journey of Life presented the practice of Lamentation through the life and trials of King David, and the second Journey of Life was based on the practice of Biblical Justice in contrast or comparison to societal understanding of “social justice”. Participants learned their identity through lamentation and the theme scripture Psalm 139, in understanding that they are “fearfully and wonderfully made”. In the second journey of life, the young adults understood how Jesus brought about His justice by “loving the neighbor as myself” (Mark 12:31).
The lessons came to life with hands-on projects in painting a playground at a homeless shelter in Pasadena, food distribution at the YMCA of Glendale, a clothing and backpack distribution to Armenia, a fundraiser and clothing drive for “Amigos del Tren” helping migrant workers in Irapuato Mexico, and many other projects reaching out to our neighbors and community.
CAC’s young adults learned during these two years that the “local church is the only hope of our community as they are trying to find their place and their gifts and function within the body of Christ”. It was an enlightening experience not only for the young adults of the church but for the congregation as they see the relevance of their church more and more to their lives, families and community.