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.

Friday, August 10, 2007

It's more than a job

Sorry that there have been far too few posts. Life's been busy. I'm not sure if anyone even reads these things anymore because we never blog anymore. Well things will change with that as I begin my job next week.

Jen and I went out to dinner tonight with a group of 35 other people (We said goodbye to me and three others, announced a pregnancy, and had a generally great time...oh, grown up, I can hardly handle it). During the course of our conversation, I mentioned my frustration at someone who I know who's looking into jobs in parishes.

He's not quite done with his theology degree, nor has he had any catechetics courses. He taught an RE class and led RCIA at a parish apparently. he feels that this qualifies him for youth ministry positions. Really, he's just looking for any job in a parish, near the Washington, DC area. My frustration comes not from his lack of catechetics courses (Hey, I think it's important, but I understand not everyone has taken them, and many can not afford an additional five classes), but instead from his total arrogance of the need and importance of youth ministry.

He had an interview a few weeks ago and basically came to the library and found me, and asked me what he needed to read to do well in the interview. I recommended Renewing the Vision, of course and told him to read it cover to cover. And then we looked at the parish's website, and let me tell you, this parish has got it together....Perfect you think, but then, he said the most disturbing words in a long time...I asked him if he was really sure if wanted to apply (because he really just wants a job in DC in the Church, but has NO PASSION whatsoever for YM) and he was like, "Well, they're desperate for a youth minister and I'm here, It's perfect". I was a little frustrating.

Youth ministry my dear friends is a call, it's a passion, it's what we live for. St. John Bosco said, "that you are young is enough for me to love you". That should be the attitude that we have for youth ministry in the Church. Instead of thinking that a parish is desperate and will hire you because of that, you should realize that the youth deserve far more than someone simply wanting to fill a position. He's convinced because it's a richer parish, the job will be easy. Youth ministry's not easy, you're supposed to be uncomfortable, you're supposed to work, and laugh and be sad and upset when kids hurt the Body of Christ, that's what it means to care about souls. Teenagers' souls are on the light, desperate is not enough.

I'm sadden to see that this is acceptable to his man, and I pray for him and his time in ministry. These kids deserve KICK BUTT, AWESOME YOUTH MINISTRY, not something just thrown together. I know I'm not an expert, I know I haven't set my foot in a parish full time yet, but still have some respect for people who are called to fight the fight in the battle.

What does this mean? I guess it's a call to me to live fearlessly, to do fearless ministry, to trust in what I've learned, and to most importantly affirm the rights of teens to receive the deposit of faith in all it's rigor and vigor with no mutilation (On Catechesis in our Times 30). Live it, and love them, and don't allow for people to do ministry as a job. You're worth it, they're worth it and sweet Jesus is worth giving teens this life saving ministry.

Thank you for your continued prayers for my upcoming start date (August 15th....Our Lady's Assumption!) I'm really excited and of course will be blogging. Please also look for a blog on something about postmodernism from my exit presentation and about inculturation!

Thanks for reading this rant, for loving ministry and for guiding my way. I'm praying for you, as warriors in the Army of God.

Tonight, someone said: You've put on the armor of God and you've been a faithful student for two years, you're ready and we send you back. We send you home to do his work.....Do his work and love it with everything that you are.

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Blogger Christopher said...

Excellent point; I absolutely agree. I'm having a similar frustration with my former pastor on this account: I left for graduate school in May, there isn't even an add out for the director of YM spot I vacated. The worst part seems to be that Fr was trying to push a seminarian candidate or two in the spot just to "promote vocation." From what I've heard, neither had any passion for youth ministry.
After struggling to begin to build a program upon Renewing the Vision and really putting myself in service to the youth, it is almost a slap in the face to see this "wait and see" attitude develop in my absence. Ack! Like you said, fearless, brave, and courageous mark youth youth ministry. Not desperation and making do.

11:09 AM  
Blogger Christopher said...

Thanks for your comment over at my blog. Its one of those things where I think I just have to trust God to take care of it. We're not the pastors of these parishes, but we can do our little bit of good (through God's grace) with the kids entrusted to us while we can.
Its difficult to be humble and let go of the program I helped to build, but to cling to it is pride.

Fearless, brave, & courageous; without humility and love, youth ministry is just another clique amidst all the rest.

7:08 PM  

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