I recently started a discussion with a few other youth leaders in our Diocese and I also asked this question in our Catholic Youth Ministry Discussion Facebook Group. It was not my intent to write a post about it, but it seemed like there are so many common ideas and movements, that it is worth sharing. So here are some thoughts about what we need to do and where we should start moving not just in five years, but RIGHT NOW!
Youth Ministry Will Happen Outside The Walls
As I think about this comment, the first things that comes to mind is the business of the youth of today. I think one reason we will have to take youth ministry outside the walls is so that we can be worked in to their schedules. Once they learn that they are being fed by the Church (you) they will gladly begin to start investing more time in it and will move it up as a priority in their lives.
I think of the Safe Environment swing as I think about this. We have become so protective and have had to formalize the atmosphere to ensure the most “Safe Environment” for the youth to learn in. This has been necessary but it is time for the pendulum to swing back and time for us to ease up a bit. Discipleship can exist within a youth group setting, but it limits it so much. We have to start thinking about Discipleship as a livelihood that is able to exist even outside of gathered programs.
More Adult Focused
In short, youth ministry must become a greater partnership with parents. We share in their responsibility as a parent. We must begin offering specific training to parents that help them partner with us so that they are able to take back their primary role of evangelizing their children. Along with parents, we must begin setting up an atmosphere for even more adults to help and share in this.
More Courageous Leadership
For too long have youth leaders been the “hands-on” leaders that are overworked and drained because they feel they have to do everything. It is time for youth leaders to become leaders and to learn to delegate HUGE pieces of their ministry to those volunteers that have the gifts or are interested in growing in those areas. We are too afraid to ask for help, which makes use bad stewards of the gifts within our parish.
I have several more posts with some challenging thoughts on what we need to start doing NOW so that we can be where we need to be in five years.
Lastly, I have to thank the local youth workers that gave me much of the content for this post and also those great Catholic Youth Ministers in our Facebook Group (you can join the group here!)
Please continue the discussion, what are some things or areas of ministry that you see as necessary for change and growth to be where we want to be in five years? Please comment below!