One of the things that I feel is lacking most in Catholic Youth Ministry is networking. Everyone seems to be struggling, some people try new things every once in awhile, but there is little team effort. Now there are some great things happening now where people are working together to cast a new vision in [...]Full story
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I am not extremely active on Twitter (you can find me here), but I do enjoy checking in on Twitter every now and then. I will start by adding my own favorite’s and then looking towards those of you who may be more actively involved to add them in the comments section below. First off [...]Full story
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Welcome to my library of Facebook Fan Pages for Catholic Youth Ministers to Like. I love “liking” fan pages as a way to stay up-to-date on what people are doing. Each year I plan to revisit this list and add more. If you notice I am missing someone, please add them in the comments section [...]Full story
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After a year, I accumulated several new channels that I enjoy so I thought it would be good to start sharing an updated list each year. So whether you are a new Catholic Youth Minster or just wanted to check in and see if you are missing anyone, I hope this is helpful. You can [...]Full story
The Center for Ministry Development (CMD) has been known for putting out great content in many different areas. They have a section on their website that is devoted to Lifelong Faith Formation. After reviewing some of the materials available through their site on the Fashioning Faith resource, we were very intrigued and excited about the vision they have for Fashioning Faith, so we decided to ask a few more questions.
Jim Merhaut is the Project Coordinator for Lifelong Faith Formation Services and was excited to answer our questions. Please enjoy our interview below!
1. Can you start by giving a brief run-down of what Fashioning Faith is and why it exists?
FashioningFaith.org is an affordable subscription website which provides lifelong faith formation resources and training for ministry staff and volunteers in Catholic churches. Here’s a link to the homepage: www.FashioningFaith.org.
2. Who is Fashioning Faith targeted at and how do they use it?
Fashioning Faith is designed to bring the Church’s vision for lifelong faith formation alive in parishes. We develop resources targeted at parish faith formation directors. They subscribe to the site and download leadership resources and faith formation session for adults, teens, children, and families. We are one of the few places providing these age-specific session plans along with complete intergenerational session plans. We wrote the book on this stuff, and people trust us to provide the best.
3. Please tell us about who is behind Fashioning Faith and who is writing the Curriculum?
I work with a small team at the Center for Ministry Development, including Joan Weber and Jane Angha, under the supervision of Tom East, the Director of the Center. We provide the vision for Fashioning Faith. I also have a team of about 25 writers from around the country. Most of them are implementing lifelong faith formation in parishes. Some work in diocesan religious education offices. Here’s a link to our author information page.
The Center not only offers the resources found on Fashioning Faith, but we also provide comprehensive training and ongoing support for parish teams to give them the tools they need develop the vision and practice of lifelong faith formation.
4. In regard youth ministry (reaching youth in grades 7-12), what are some of the things that we can find and/or look forward to in Fashioning Faith?
We upload twelve new youth ministry sessions each year on the site. But the best youth ministry resources provided by the Center are found on our other websites: Youth Ministry Access High School and Youth Ministry Access Middle School. They are packed with outstanding resources for comprehensive youth ministry. These sites are for youth ministry what Fashioning Faith is for lifelong faith formation. Cheryl Tholcke, firstname.lastname@example.org is the Project Coordinator for Youth Ministry Access. Check it out at www.YouthMinistryAccess.org.
5. What’s next for Fashioning Faith?
We’re very excited about the latest resources to hit the website. They are called Faith Festivals and First Steps for Families. They are designed for parishes who want to work toward the goal of providing faith formation for everyone in the community, but they don’t know where to start. These resources will get them started, and then we have others to keep them going. Click here for a sneak peak.
6. How can we learn more about Fashioning Faith?
Go to www.FashioningFaith.org and browse around, or contact Jim Merhaut for a free live webinar tour: email@example.com or 330-286-3757.
Thank you Jim!
We are thankful to Jim and the staff at CMD for the great resources they are making available!Readmore
That’s right, we are holding our first ever contest. We were thinking we would do this every year, but since we have not done one yet, it was decided to open the doors wide open. So here’s how it will work:
- You submit your favorite Catholic Youth Ministry blog posts to us (below).
- We compile a manageable list of the best from those submitted.
- Our readers will vote on them!
Depending on the number of submissions, we may have two rounds of voting. Our number one goal with this is to pull out some of the goodies that may have a little dust on them and bring them out for others to read. Also to bring attention to some of the best Catholic Youth Ministry bloggers out there!
Have you been impacted by a post before? Do you have a favorite blogger? Help them out by submitting your favorite post of theirs and let others find out about them!
To submit a post for the contest simply fill out the form below! Again, right now anything goes! It could be twenty years old (is the internet that old?), if it’s good, send it in!
If you have questions about the contest, please feel free to comment below!
Submit Your Favorite Catholic Youth Ministry Post Here!
Have more than 1? No problem! Submit as many as you would like!
On April 18th, the USCCB released a new document titled “Disciples Called to Witness: The New Evangelization.” The preface of the document states that
The Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis seeks to take up the call of the New Evangelization with this online resource. Diocesan bishops, eparchs, pastors, diocesan and parish staff, and indeed all Catholics will find this resource helpful in the creation of outreach efforts aimed at inviting and welcoming Catholics back to the Lord’s Table.
And that is exactly what they do. The call of the New Evangelization seeks to provide a stronger thrust in our efforts to Evangelization. Most specifically it aims towards the evangelization of those that once were once faithful Catholics but have fallen away. I absolutely love this document because it is written in a way that any leader in the Church can get a good introduction to the New Evangelization, what the Church is seeking to do through it, and why. Most importantly, the USCCB lays out incredible practical tips on how we can do this. I encourage all those who work in youth ministry at any level (yes, even volunteers) to read through this and join the Church in this incredible call.
It’s free so get to it!
Have any great ideas that your parish or Diocese has begun using to “take up the call of the New Evangelization?” Please comment below!Readmore
In great anticipation for the next re:Build Conference on April 19th, we wanted to bring attention to the ministry of Rebuild My Church and decided to ask them a few questions. Enjoy the interview below!
In a few sentences can you describe what re:Build is?
re:Build is the major project of www.rebuildmychurch.org. It is a series of free online conferences focused on Catholic Youth Ministry across the English speaking world. It features 6-7 speakers who present ideas on how we can rework, rethink, or rebuild our ministries to better serve Christ and His Holy Church. Participants are invited to dialogue through social media and other web based forums.
Why would you say re:Build exists? What needs are being met?
At its core I would say that re:Build exists to create a global sharing of gifts and wisdom in the Catholic Youth Ministry community. The two primary needs that are being met are an accessibility and diversity of thought. YMs who can’t afford to go to a national conference or bring in speakers are suddenly able to. This is something we are very dedicated to. We are equally committed to bringing in great presenters from across genders, ethnicities, backgrounds, and geography. This helps draw YMs out of their Ministerial Silos and helps them look at their ministry through new eyes.
Of those who simply view or follow re:Build and it’s ministry, what is some of the feedback you are getting?
Overwhelmingly positive, but helpfully critical. We really see these conferences as an open collaboration between our leadership team, the speakers, and the 400+ participants. The speakers are immediately available for questions and feedback through the online dialogue, and we work hard to highlight great statements, thoughts, and questions as we moderate and facilitate the conversation. A lot of our biggest growth points and ideas for the next conference come from viewers.
What does re:Build look like to you in the next five or ten years?
Whatever the Spirit has in store we are open to. We will also be forming a board of directors in the next 6 months to help us figure some of the specifics, but we have some great plans based on feedback we have received. Specifically we hope to start a version of the conference for youth. It will have a different focus, but similar flavor to the current conference. We are also kicking around the idea of one for young adults. We also plan to continually improve the quality of the event as support and technology allow us. We would also love to create a space for ongoing online collaboration around ideas.
You will be hosting your second re:Build conference on April 19th. Can you tell us a little about what we can expect from that conference and how we can get involved?
More great speakers, improved interactive components, more time for dialogue, and bathroom breaks(this was a key piece of feedback). If you are interested in attending please register, by going to the website and scroll down to the registration tab. Or just Click Here. We are also already starting to plan on our next event so if you are interested in being on our event team, speaking at, or sponsoring the event drop us a line.
How can our followers connect with and stay involved in what re:Build is doing?
You can Like us on Facebook, follow the #Iwillrebuild Hashtag on Twitter, and subscribe to our blog for formal announcements. For behind the scenes info go watch Scott Miller’s Catholic Youth Ministry Blog, or Like Perpetual Motion Ministry on Facebook. If you want to get in touch with us directly just drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a testimonial about the conference or ministry of Re:Build? Post it in the comments section below!
A new movie is coming to town on March 23. October Baby is a pro-life movie about an abortion survivor that goes on a journey to meet her birth mother. This movie is sure to be an incredible tool in youth ministry and will be great for discussions and healing among your ministry. The clips alone will bring you to tears. If you have the time and want some insight from the directors and the main actress, they were featured on Life on the Rock on March 15th and the entire clip can be found here. The interview starts at around the 8:27 mark.
Here are a few ways you can stay updated on the movie and a powerful video discussing one of the most powerful scenes in the movie.
Be sure to grab your ticket and send a message to hollywood about what it is we want!Readmore
I have recently been reviewing curriculum for our Diocese in order that I can put out a new recommendation list for the parishes in our Diocese. As a student at the Augustine Institute in Denver I am made aware of the many great things that are happening through the Institute and those involved in it. Not too long ago, the Augustine Institute began promoting their new youth ministry based curriculum call YDisciple. I have had a chance to review two of the current bundles that have been published (they have three out right now) and am excited to write our first review on it.
What Is It?
The YDisicple materials are very unique when compared to the other materials that are out there. When you purchase a YDisciple bundle, you receive a youth leader guide, a student journal, and a set of DVD’s. The bundle includes materials to lead four bible study sessions. Each bundle has a theme that is covered for those four lessons. The curriculum has been formed around the Discipleship model which is introduced in the first bundle. In the two bundles that I received there is one DVD for each lesson and an extra DVD for the leader’s to be used as a training tool for themselves. Each study is designed to show a DVD (possibly in large group) and then break into smaller Discipleship groups to reflect and lead the youth through the biblical message of each study.
How Is It Different?
YDisciple is very different for a couple of reasons. First off, I have never seen a program written in way that is so clear on where you are beginning and where you want to go. The bundles are being developed systematically to help lead the youth through and into the Discipleship process. YDisciple is not something that you can just plug into your classroom curriculum that you are already using. It is a program that changes the way your parish does ministry using extremely sound and proven methods that are common to most youth workers, but not always clearly articulated as they are in YDisciple.
Secondly, the absolute top reason I love YDisciple is because of the quality of training that it provides for the leaders. Jim Beckman is one of the top names in Catholic Youth Ministry right now. With each bundle, you get a disc of training that comes from the Youth Ministry Guru professor that teaches many of the Youth Ministry courses through the graduate program at AI. It is excellent content that is taught at a level that any volunteer can grasp. You can also gain access to tons of great courses and content for leaders through their website for a small annual fee.
I place a great deal of respect on where a product originates from. If you do not know about AI and who is involved in it, you should learn. When you can approach your pastor with names like Jim Beckman, Tim Gray, and the Augustine Institute, it will not take long to convince them that it is worth the investment.
After speaking with Jim on the phone a little about this curriculum, I became very excited. They have a great vision for the program and have tons more materials and products coming our way!
How About A Promo Video?
Sure! Click on the image at the top of the post to watch their promo video!
Jason and Crystalina Evert published a book titled How To Find Your Soulmate Without Losing Your Soul. They are currently making this book available at a huge discount when ordered by the case. Right now you can order a a case of 44 books for only $2 each. This book makes an excellent gift for young women and has really become a popular item through our Diocese. I am male and have read most of the book and would say that the book is ideal for women that are considered young adults (ages 18-30) that are single. I have several high school girls that are also very active in reading and encouraging their friends to read this book.
There is also a free study guide that is provided that would make this a great youth group women’s study idea.
Here’s some links!
Have you read the book or do you have other great ideas for a young women’s study? Please share below!Readmore
Just a quick note that Facebook & the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline have partnered up and Facebook will be offering an option for people to report someone who may be contemplating suicide. The report will send an email to the user with a plea to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline by phone or they can click a link to start an anonymous chat.
Would like to hear your thoughts.
Here’s the article straight from Facebook.Readmore
I am in love with the Totus Tuus program in our Diocese. I thought I would just take a little bit to talk about Totus Tuus for those who are not aware of it and also give a little insight to the Totus Tuus program within our Diocese and what some of our goals are.
The Totus Tuus program originated in the Diocese of Wichita and has quickly spread out now to six Arch-Dioceses and 24 Dioceses across the United States. There really is no formal organization that head’s it all up, but Lisa Sharp and Rev. Aaron Spexarth are incredibly helpful in being the glue that holds things together and brings those interested in the Mission of the Totus Tuus together to create a more unified ministry.
In a nutshell, what Totus Tuus is, is a summer missionary program. Each location hires a certain number of teams (2 men and 2 women per team) and these teams are trained to execute weeklong vacation bible schools and youth ministry programs throughout the Diocese. Team members are young adults that have graduated from high and are typically in college. Parishes will typically pay a standard fee to bring the team in for a week and will also provide all of the housing and meals for the team members for that time.
Why I Love It and Why You Should To
In our Diocese, we will have seven teams this year covering over 40 parishes. Most of our team consists of those that have grown up through the great programs in our Diocese and have a desire to serve the Church and give the gift that they received when they were young back to those younger than them. The training provided is key to the success the Totus Tuus program. This year we will have 28 young adults trained in Discipleship and Evangelization and will have tons of tools to live out their faith when they return home. The summer is incredible taxing but they are also given great opportunities through the summer to grow in prayer and fellowship with other young Catholics that are striving grow as well.
Sure, the programs are great, but the change I see in the team members each summer is really what motivates me in preparing each summer for Totus Tuus. My number one goal now is to begin calling the parish to be more involved in the program so that the tools that are given to the team are also passed down to those who do Catechesis weekly with these children and youth throughout the year.
I already talked more than I would like. If you are interested in hearing more about this program. The Diocese of Wichita has their information laid out very well!
P.S. – Your young adults can apply to any Diocese, so even if you do not have a Totus Tuus program in your Diocese. I encourage you to make this available to your Seniors in High School and other young adults in College.Readmore
One of the great things about the Catholic Church is the beautiful tradition that lies within in. This year, there are two organizations (that we have found so far) that put together unique Advent Calendars. Advent Calendars work in a way that you are only supposed to open one day at a time in excitement and anticipation for the coming of the Messiah. Here are the two!
Busted Halo Electronic Advent Calendar – Gives a quick quote and micro challenge for each day.
Life Teen’s Advent Calendar (Sort Of) – Quick 1-minute videos that are fun and provide a quick little insight and challenge for each day during advent.
Do you know of other calendars or good tools to help lead our youth through the season of Advent?Readmore