Casting Deeper #6 – Transformation

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Casting Deeper in Catholic Youth MinistryThis is the final post of a six part series.  To see the whole series, go here.

In my last challenge to cast deeper, I am going to focus more on those leaders that may be in the trenches with the youth.  This entire series is geared towards those youth leaders that lead leaders.  We must know how to effectively cast down vision in order to grow.  We must have a vision and plan in order for our youth ministry to grow.

This post is a challenge to shift our vision from simply connecting with youth or getting them to events, but it seeks to transform the youth.

I work a lot with social media and am learning a lot about what works and what doesn’t and how I can use social media to continue growing the ministry done through the Catholic Youth Ministry Hub.  I have learned exactly this though.  My efforts in social media must reach beyond the connection.  In order to truly connect with the followers, I have to build a relationship with them.  Once they realize that what I am offering is true and authentic; once they realize that my ministry comes from a passion and not a desire to earn an income, I become a trusted figure and they are more likely to engage in the content that I provide.

Now I am comparing relational ministry to social media which I understand are very different things, but the concept is the same.  If you truly want to make your activities and your small groups more effective and you want them to transform the youth that participate, you must be connected through real relationships.   Until that is done, your activities and small groups will simply be avenues of connection and NOT transformation.

I see this through our summer camps.  We have excellent summer camps in our Diocese that are great opportunities for conversion.  Unfortunately through camp our ability to continue many of those Discipleship focused relationships is minimal.  Unless youth are able to get back into a parish and continue that relationship with “Church” it is very difficult for the experiences of camp to stick and continue to transform their lives.

How can we help facilitate transformation in our parishes?  How we help ensure the challenges and experiences that youth have through our events transform their lives instead just being a temporary high?  What do you do in your parish?  Please share below in the comments section.

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Eric Gallagher (@ericjgallagher) has over 12 years of experience in full-time youth ministry in the Diocese of Sioux Falls where he currently serves as the Director of Youth Discipleship & Evangelization for the Diocese. Eric is a husband and father of four. He primarily blogs over at DiscipleshipYM.com.