We’re YAYA. Nice to meet you!

Youth & Young Adult Ministries at the First Congregational Church of Palo Alto is committed to building a positive, progressive, encouraging, affirming community for students and young adults. If you’re in middle or high school, or completing your university studies, or a young professional to age 35, a special welcome to you!


Mission, Vision, and Values

Our Mission
We feel the Holy Spirit calling us to:

  • Cooperate, working in collaboration with each other and drawing upon each person’s gifts to demonstrate God’s grace and love.
  • Cultivate, tending to one another’s concerns, building community, and recognizing the inherent dignity and worth of each human being, paying attention to the Holy Spirit’s movement in our lives.
  • Consecrate, taking time to see the sacred in the ordinary, identifying the presence of Jesus Christ in the communities of our everyday lives.
  • Celebrate, being joyful for God’s divine handiwork in all things created and called “good.”

Our Vision
To provide safe space where young people are accepted and affirmed in their being, encouraged to deepen their faith journey, and equipped to be a transformational presence in the communities of their everyday lives.

Our Core Values

  • We are unapologetically Christian. Our faith foundation begins in the example of Jesus of Nazareth, fully divine and fully human, the Son of God who demonstrates the path of love, reconciliation, grace, mercy, justice, and right community.
  • We are community-focused. In the face of a culture that promotes as sacred the notion of complete self-sufficiency, we recognize that we are created as social beings and are interconnected with every other human being in ways that are impossible to detangle.
  • We are justice-seeking. Following the wisdom of the prophets, the teachings of Jesus, and the call of the Holy Spirit, we seek to be partners with those on the edges of society, to care for creation, and to use our various privileges in a way that empowers marginalized persons and honors the inherent worth, value, and dignity of all God’s created beings.
  • We are disciples-making-disciples. Leadership is not confined to the clergy, or to elected leadership boards and committee structures. In the waters of baptism we are all called to an active, engaged faith that affirms, empowers, encourages, and equips. All Christians are called to live out their lives in a way that witnesses to their faith, and in so doing, takes a leadership role in the promotion of the Gospel.

Our Ministries

If you’re a middle schooler, you know the awesomest place to be on Tuesday nights is at First Congo. JUMP is our totally fun, radically connected community group just for middle school students. No matter whether you’re at Jordan, JLS, Terman, Hillview, Crittenden, Castilleja, or Woodside Priory, you’re certain to find some new friends and connect with old in JUMP. We love to play silly games, eat heaps of food, and explore together how to be the awesome people we already know we are.
This isn’t your parents’ youth group. FLIP High School Group gets together monthly for Sunday brunch in Palo Alto, as well as for exciting social events — like SkyHigh, LaserQuest, human hamster balls, and more. Our pastor and members of the Faith Formation Team regularly do breakfast or lunch at area high schools to check-in and keep the connection going. With students from Paly, Gunn, M-A, Mid-Pen, Mountain View, Castilleja, Woodside Priory, Summit, and other high schools, our group is an active and diverse bunch!
Our flagship service immersion program, ENGAGE provides opportunities for young people to serve neighbors near and far. Whether it’s Ablaze service days, Spark service weekends, or Ignite weeklong service trips, there’s an ENGAGE opportunity for every age and participation level. People join us for single events, as well as families that have made ENGAGE participation an annual tradition in summer plans. Raising awareness, opening dialogue, and building solidarity, the ENGAGE service initiative is discipleship in action. We’re proud to be the only progressive Christian community in the San Francisco Bay Area to provide the breadth of service opportunities across age groups, and we seek to strengthen these programs even more in the coming years.
New Spring Mountain View is doing church differently. We don’t get together on Sunday mornings to sit in uncomfortable pews, listening to a sermon — there are farmer’s markets and brunch to go to! We’re an active group of 20s/30s and friends who are passionate about building community and engaging in service among society’s margins. We get together to serve, to discover, and to hang out in a comfortable atmosphere of friendship and innovation. Our Pub(lic) Theology discussions are lively times to dig deeper into spirituality (over pizza and beer), and we look forward to our regular outings to sports games, theatrical productions, or TV-on-Bluray marathons. We regularly volunteer with other like-minded doers-of-good in our community, giving ourselves purpose and a framework for mission.

What to expect

It can be intimidating going to something new, no matter what the age. Across our YAYA ministries, know that you will be most warmly welcomed and affirmed — we like to say you “bring your whole self,” because we believe that God’s Beloved Community really does include all people. As an Open and Affirming ministry, we extend a special welcome to persons of all sexual orientations, gender identities expressions.

Get connected

Above all, we pray that you will find a spiritual home here. Take a look at our calendar of events. Reach out to our pastor or any of our leadership team members with questions or just to grab coffee.