What is the Zoe Project?
The Zoe Project is dedicated to building life-supporting, faith-transforming relationships between young adults and Christian congregations. Between 2017-2020, twelve congregations set out together on a 3-year learning pilgrimage, sponsored by Princeton Theological Seminary, to learn how to build better relationships with young adults, and nurture their spiritual lives. Funded by the Lilly Endowment’s Young Adult Innovation Hub initiative, each church commissioned an intergenerational team of Zoe Fellows to work together to design ways young adults and congregants could support each other’s lives and faith.
The Zoe Project also included active learning experiments that built on what we were learning about young adults and faith communities. From a a cross-country expedition to discover how young adults make meaning and community outside of churches, to a farm-based “summer camp” for young adults at vocational crossroads–to everything in between—The Zoe Project amassed story after story of “trial and error” as churches and young adults found their way to one another.
As one young adult put it at the end of their project: “We finally realized, after three years of trial and error with our Zoe Project, that our project was never the point. The trial and error was the point. Trying stuff was the point. That was our Zoe Project: permission to try things, fail, and try again. So that’s what we’re going to keep doing.”
Young adult, Toms River United Methodist Church