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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Justice and Service part II

Before I lost everything I had begun a series on the "Great 8" as I call the 8 Components of Youth Ministry. One of the entries was on Justice and Service. I got talking with some veteran youth ministers and one suggested I write a paper and submit it. So that's just what I'm going to do.

However I am very very interested to hear if anyone else has significant thoughts on this area of youth ministry. If you don't, but know of someone who would, please get them to come here and put some thoughts down.

Very VERY briefly, my perspective is that kids needs to be doing work for others. For starters, it's a part of our baptismal call. Secondly, it gets them thinking about other people for a change.

I'm of the opinion that it should NOT be a typical secular-school required "Service project". I don't consider shelving books at the local library or feeding dogs at the shelter a service or justice issue. No, I believe very strongly that our mission is to serve people. First. Those other things can come alongside, but Jesus' commandment was to "love others as I have loved you". I don't think he meant dogs.

I also believe that it should be done within the context of community. (PS a great way to include another Component). There will be kids who are terrified to go talk to an elderly person and other kids who are totally ready. Pair them together!! Help them help each other help others!

Finally I think pastoral care and prayer are integral to the event. Always spend time at the beginning explaining what will be happening and what is expected of them. Save time at the end for reflection and responses. I'll either come up with some questions or do the "Mad, Sad Glad" thing. (Which most describes you after this event and why). Always begin in prayer, always end in prayer.

Thoughts? Comments? Opinions?

3 Comments:

Blogger Nick said...

Amen! I wholly agree that there should be a pastoral aspect to a service project. While shelving books in a library might fulfill a requirement, there is no learning experience or any connections being formed.

When kids are out in the world, doing things and connecting with people, they are not only giving support, but they are creating lasting memories - stories that they can share with their friends.

12:19 AM  
Blogger Matthew-John said...

Father half-jokingly said I should enlist some of the youth to help haul junk out of the rectory basement. I think it is a great example, and at least one place to start.
Then, there is always the classic raking of the elderlie's lawns during the fall. Speaking of the elderly parishoners, what about visiting them, especially the home-bound and those in old-folks-homes?

6:35 PM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

Matthew-John
I'm a HUGE proponent of going to an elderly home with kids.

I've done it a variety of ways: We've gone to just visit each room, we've done Communion Services (which is one of my fav's because it gets the kids catechized and involved in parts of the liturgy), we've done sing-a-longs, simple art projects (which nursing home activity coordinators generally LOVE because we do help them do their work)...I just think it's a great way to involve the two generations in each others' lives. I've had kids who became rather attached to certain residents.

10:13 AM  

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