By SAMANTHA SMITH, Staff Writer | Published September 5, 2019
ATLANTA— College students and young adults in need of ministry support can reach out to Allen Austin, the new associate director of campus and young adult ministries for the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
Originally from Florida, Austin moved to Atlanta after graduating from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. While working in sales, he started volunteering with the Life Teen youth group at St. Ann Church in Marietta.
“I just love teenagers—the energy and the vibrancy and their zest for life,” said Austin.
He later served as youth minister for three years at St. Brigid Church in Johns Creek and at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Alpharetta for ten years.
Relationships kept Austin involved in youth ministry. He met his wife and some of his best friends through youth ministry, in addition to staying in contact with students and seeing their lives evolve over the years.
Youth ministry is “the most challenging, yet the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done outside of parenting,” he said.
Austin, and his wife, Meghan, have two sons, Noah and Blaise. He also has a daughter, Miranda.
After moving to Philadelphia and working for Ascension Press for four years, Austin returned to Atlanta to accept the associate director position.
“It feels like I’m home again,” he said.
Austin’s position is part of the Office of Formation and Discipleship, which supports pastors and church leaders in their mission of evangelization. The office’s work includes the areas of religious education, sacramental preparation, youth, young adults, family ministry, pastoral care, marriage preparation, professional development and management consulting.
There are 13 Catholic campus ministries and roughly 20 young adult ministries in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.
The Holy Spirit wants to create small thriving Catholic communities in Atlanta “whether it be on campus, in a parish, different community gathering places around the city, apartment complexes, just anywhere people are,” said Austin.
While he hopes for each parish and campus ministry to have a full-time young adult minister, financial and commitment challenges prevent many locations from sustaining needed support.
“Until we invest, I think it’s going to be difficult to really build,” he said. Austin hopes to learn more about fundraising and development to support young adult ministry across the Atlanta Archdiocese.
Recently, the Office of Formation and Discipleship collaborated with The Georgia Bulletin on a survey to learn about the concerns and needs of Catholic young adults. Information from the survey will be used for future Georgia Bulletin stories and outreach programs.
The survey is open to Catholic young adults, ages 18-39, until Oct. 1.
The church is beginning to recognize the need to minister to young people, said Austin. He encourages the church to reach out to young adults and to build stronger bonds.
“There is a general sense of loneliness in the population,” said Austin. So, it is important to acknowledge young adults and to ask them what they need, he explained.
“Recognize that they’re out there and let them into part of your world,” said Austin.
Contact Allen Austin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 404-920-7541 to learn more about the young adult ministry in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.