Discussion Questions or Thoughts For Use After Video
- Who are the youth that you consider as part of your group or that have been put in your care?
- Who is it in your group that you feel called to invest in and duplicate yourself in?
- In what ways do you feel you could invest more heavily in a few of your youth?
- Have you ever used this mentality before? Does it make sense?
Complete Notes For Video
This is Eric Gallagher from the Catholic Youth Ministry Hub. In this quick training I will give a method of stewardship that I have found useful in regard to the time spent with youth inside and outside of your regular education or youth ministry programs. This method can be used for those who commit a couple hours a week or those who work full-time. It is a method that is used by Christ in the New Testament and a method that has proven to be effective by youth ministry programs still today.
Let’s face it, even if you are a full-time paid youth worker, your time is very limited. Whether that limitation be in the time that you are actually able to minister to the youth or even the number of years that you have with the youth in your programs. Our time is a gift from God that must be used with good stewardship. Just as we budget, spend, and invest our money, we are called to layout a plan for our time in a way that pleases our Lord and makes good use of the gift that He has given us.
For this example we are going to take a look at a typical small group setting. Ideally, your adult to student ratio should be no more than 1:7 or 1:8. We will use seven as the example. In my ministry I like to strive for 1:6 and if I have eight in a small group, I would prefer to have a co-leader available in the group as well. It is the responsibility of the youth coordinator of the parish to set up this atmosphere to make it most beneficial to the adults and the youth involved. This does not necessarily mean that you regularly meet in small groups, just that your youth group or religious education program should be broken up in this way for accountability and responsibility purposes for the youth and adults. By assigning 6-8 youth for each adult, that allows the adult to narrow their focus and responsibility and it will ensure each youth in take care of.
As mentioned earlier, the model I am suggesting is much like the model that Christ used. It includes three levels of investment. The first level is that you must make yourself available to all in your small group. This means when you are in youth group or they catch you after Mass, you are available to them when they wish to talk, have questions, or simply need help. Every youth deserves this and needs this. You can see this example in Scripture very clearly as Christ is always available and guides those who are seeking Him. This intentional availability also is a great witness of the Eucharist and the Church being available always to us anytime we need it.
The second level is a deeper level of involvement in a few of the youth in your group. These three are youth that you feel God is calling you to work more regularly with or that may need a little more from you, either because they are struggling or they are desiring to grow. The goal is that you would reach out to these youth. This example is given to us in Christ as He clearly invests His energies into Peter, James, & John. He is not showing favoritism over the other apostles, but he knows that they need more from Him for whatever reason.
The last level of your time investment is that you must duplicate yourself in one person in your group. This could be your co-leader that may also be an older youth or it may be a youth that you know will bring the greatest return on your investment of time that you give them. This could be the youth that steps in and leads if you have to be gone. It is probably the youth that the others in the group will follow and trust. You are setting the foundation for when you are gone. You are training future disciples. Just as Christ duplicated Himself in Peter, you are called to train and empower the youth within your group.
All three of these levels are flexible and moveable. You may find that one person you have been investing in either is doing great on their own and has the support they need or the youth is struggling so much that they continue to throw your investment of time in the garbage. You do not completely pull out, your time just needs to move into a different area until that youth is ready for more.
Just to recap, the three levels are that you should be available to all, invest in few, and duplicate yourself in one. Make it intentional and have a plan in place.
CREDITS: CC Money Image courtesy of AMagill on Flickr