Totally Catholic Youth Ministers Lounge

Are you in youth ministry and you've had it with crazed parents? Rollin' your eyes at the pastoral council? Tired of administration work? Love youth? Love the Church? Appalled at parish politics? Looking for some good games? For a creative ways to teach a lesson for Religious Ed? Just need a place to veg out and say "phew! Someone outside of the parish to talk to!"? Grab y'r Starbucks, turn the computer away from the staff's eyes, grab a seat on a donated dusty couch and let it all go.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Youth Ministry in the United States

One of the extraordinary perks of my job is the people I get to work with. I often wonder if that is the reason that God brought me back to Steubenville, is to meet up with these folks and begin talking about what is really important.

I had such a conversation with Mark Berchem, director of NET Ministries. Even though I'm working here at the University, my heart is still in Youth Ministry, particularly for the Youth Ministers. We talked about where youth ministry needs to go and what minsters are needing.

Let's just say I left that meeting with my heart pounding. I believe God is about a movement in our country. There are SO many excellent ministries for and directed at youth. It is not enough, yet, but faithfulness to the Church and her teachings is on the rise. I have dreams of going to a certain federation of certain "youth ministers" on a "national level" and telling them either get with the Church or get lost. No more can they be the guiding influence of youth ministry in this country.

YOU are in the trenches. You are more than likely wanting to be faithful to the Church but are often challenged by other youth ministers, your own pastor, parents and even the crummy stuff that is out there called "resources" (I'm thinking Center for Ministry Development, Generations of Faith, etc).

We can do better. We can be holier. We can listen to the Holy Spirit. We can be maleable and do God's will. It takes a willingness. Will you be willing? Will you listen? Will you, by the grace of God BE what he needs you to be-nothing more, nothing less?

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

for reflection:

www.fscc-calledtobe.org/living.asp

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to drop you a note to say thanks for your thoughts - I enjoy reading them and am in agreement almost all the time. Keep writing the words from you heart; it helps all of us who have chosen Youth Ministry as our gift back to God.

2:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for the positive comments. But if you think Youth Ministry is difficult in the States you should try it up here in Canada, well, at least in Ontario.

In Ontario we have a Publicly funded Catholic School system, which you would this would be great. But as a Youth Minister I find it extremely frustating.

I have 2 grade schools connected to my parish, a total of about 2500-3000 youth. If maybe 500 of them came to church with their families I would be surprised.

Families believe they don't have to go to church because their kids go to a catholic school. They get their religion at school, why go to church.

I find that people are no longer Catholic because they want to be or because they believe in the faith. People are catholic because it's a process that they go through. It's a family tradition.

Sorry for ranting. I really just wanted to say thank you for the kind words. It's nice to heard some positive things every once in a while.

Struggling in Ontario

11:19 AM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

Canada!
I hear it's difficult, even more so there.

I'm excited that there is finally a FUS Youth Conference in Canada this year. Granted it's up in Nova Scotia, but just that a bishop-an ARCHbishop (Prendergast)is making this important

He went to the surrounding dioceses of Halifax and told them that they need to support the Youth Conference, so this year they will have over 2,000 kids at the first Canadian Steubenville Youth Conference.

Good things to come. It may take a while, but you have my prayers!

9:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm in the Albany Diocese in NY and I'm disgusted with the way they don't support teen programs. LifeTeen is non existent up here because of our Diocese and our cluster of parishes has NO dynamic youth minister to lead our kids. How does one go about finding a great youth minister and has anyone had a positive experience getting a Diocese to support teen programs???? HELP!

9:55 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

anonymous,
are you in youth ministry? Are you a teen? a parent?

What I know is that unfortunately, if the pastor or bishop doesn't support it, it doesn't go very far, whatever the program.

However, that doesn't mean that all is lost. First, Pray. Second, pray. Third pray. Pray for conversion of hearts and for people to rise up and work for the youth.

Then start from the bottom up-that is, what can you do? What can others in your parish do? Can you love kids? Can you plan events? Can you identify people who have different gifts and challenge them to raise up and be active? Read the document "Renewing the Vision" -it will give you a very good goal and vision for youth ministry. Pick up some of the other books I've listed. Invite the NET teams in, bring your kids to a Steubenville Youth Conference or HeartWorkcamp.

You are not at a loss, but you must start with prayer. And you must get others involved in the vision. And then you have to make a plan and act on that plan in accordance with that vision. Love on kids. Pray for people to love them.

10:08 PM  

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