One of my first blog posts was titled Who Is Supposed to Disciple Me? In ministry, we usually focus on helping others grow in discipleship, but lets face it: it can be very difficult for [...]
Have you ever wondered why fitness center memberships can be so expensive or why they require you to have a certain length of contract? Many fitness centers would actually say that charging a higher rate [...]
We have heard it said a million times that the primary people responsible for the formation of the youth are their parents. The Church doesn’t have a secondary role in their formation, as if it’s only when the parents are doing it poorly, but it shares in this responsibility.
The first instinct when youth start to become interested in spiritual growth is usually to start a youth group. I would argue that focusing on the four earmarks as the means to teaching them the faith is the better way to go.
The reality is that we live in a culture that is so relativistic and distrusting of authority that it will take much more to inspire others to do something than simply telling them to do it. Only love for another will motivate a person to freely adopt a new way of thinking and acting.
One of the things I find most difficult in what I do is being able to explain to others how discipleship is not a program. Any programming in your parish, including discipleship groups, should be [...]
When I was kid, I remember my grandparents having a pendulum clock. I thought it was so cool that I could grab the pendulum to stop it from moving back and forth. When I let it go, it would slowly begin to build up momentum and start swinging again from side to side. This clock often comes to mind when I think about youth ministry and as I address questions regarding safe environment, oversight, etc. On the one hand we want to protect our youth, so we need to have guidelines and boundaries in place, but on the other, we don’t want so many limits that those involved have no freedom to do what they know needs to be done. It’s a difficult balance between too much control and too much freedom.
Discipleship Focused Youth Ministry is tough because it requires a more natural evolution than simply creating a program and getting people to become involved in it. As the earmark of Mutual Responsibility implies, discipleship is a two-way street. You need a rabbi (teacher) who is willing to invest themselves in a disciple, and you need a disciple who desires to be like the teacher. The reality is that we cannot force discipleship.
Those who have not really thought too much about what it would be like outside of the box and have been living in it for so long struggle with the realities when change begins to hit. At the same time, we have people who have been engaging in discipleship for some time, and when they look at the walls of the common youth ministry structure in the Church (the jail), they are able to much more readily see the lack of freedom one has in them.
One of my favorite blogs to follow on Catholic Youth Ministry is written by Christopher Wesley, the director of student ministry at Church of the Nativity in Timonium, Maryland. I was privileged to meet Chris for the first time this last December and learn about his new book which was published on March 9th. Here is my review!