Hyphen: The New Young Adult Ministry of the UPCI

By Charlotte L. Pound

Hyphen Youth Ministry, headed by Bro. Nathaniel Binion of Austin, Texas, seeks to connect 18-to 30-year-olds to “Service…With Purpose… Through Resources…For a Mission.”

The Hyphen ministry began out of a meeting chaired by the General Youth Department (GYD) in late 2008 to answer the question, “How can we build a ministry that connects, equips and empowers the 20-something demographic of the UPCI?” Bro. Binion was approached to structure, recruit a team, and institute a brand that would become the groundwork for a ministry that would focus on this young adult demographic.

Bro. Binion explained, “First, the role of the national GYD ministry is to equip and connect grass roots efforts of individuals, churches and districts to each other and to resources to help them become ‘hyphens’ to their world. We looked at the first two years of the ministry (2009-2011) as the launch and structure phase, the next few years as an expansion year (2012-2014), and then a releasing phase where we would hope all districts are participating in the Hyphen ministry in some way.”

According to Bro. Binion, some current objectives are: first, allowing the website to be a repository of grass roots resources for our movement; second, using social networking presence on Twitter and Facebook to network individuals; and third, seeking to challenge and equip districts to facilitate young adult events and ministry.

“We are funded through the GYD, and the General Youth Secretary is our direct report,” he said. “We present our budget, objectives and event proposals to the GYD executive committee in November, the entire GYC at Midwinter meetings in January and, of course, we are always at the pleasure of the GYD executive leadership and the UPCI General Board.

“Our national team consists of all volunteers who are incredibly competent people. We meet via a conference call the third Monday night of every month. We meet in St. Louis once a year, and our team has volunteered time and finances at numerous events across the country.”

Bro. Binion explained the structure: “Each director has a job description with key questions that quantifies what he or she should be doing specifically each month as related to the Hyphen vision. Hyphen is a decentralized structure that trusts each district to build its own structure with the knowledge of its own challenges and opportunities, so our national structure is important. I am proud to report that almost every district in the UPCI has a functioning Hyphen presence,” he said.

Bro. Binion shared the accomplishments of Hyphen. “We are proud that we have built a brand that is present in most districts. We have a sound structure, a website and free resources, and have produced a Starter Pack available to purchase on the GYD website. We have seen two Hyphen tours completed, restructured Youth Congress day sessions, and have hosted two “8” events for young adults at Youth Congress.

“I see the national brand and national teams of Hyphen striving to be experts in the discipleship model to equip the 18-30 demographic. That way each individual, leader and district can build a Hyphen ministry with proven methods while acknowledging the unique opportunities and challenges of their local situation. Our national team is here to assist in any way that we can.”

More information is available at www.hyphenonline.org.