Over the past few years, I have seen several common mistakes, and I thought it would be helpful to share my observations in the hope that others can learn from them as well. Here are the top ten mistakes I am seeing discipleship leaders make as they strive to foster an atmosphere of discipleship in their ministry to others:
A disciple is driven by a love for Jesus Christ that initiates a “dropping of the nets” in order to follow him. The reality behind my recent experience is that deep down inside, I knew for many years that what I was doing was going to have to change, but the Lord waited to give me that invitation until the time was right
It will take real oversight and ongoing training to help small group leaders overcome the very “programmatic” mindset that has dominated parish catechesis, sacramental preparation, and youth ministry for decades. Parish coordinators and pastors will need to individually disciple leaders beyond dependence on a “program” until they have the personal freedom, experiences, skills, and knowledge to disciple teens in a way that is truly effective- with or without a “program.”
As we begin to move towards a more discipleship focused youth ministry, I am observing several developments in regard to parents and how they are being engaged. Here are seven of them
When parents have to pick and choose the things to which they will give their time and we give them the option to not be involved, why would they be? By not requiring them to be involved, we essentially tell them that we’ve got it covered or we don’t necessarily “need” their help.
I believe that in order for us to increase our effectiveness in youth ministry, we have to begin to provide opportunities for adults in the parish to practice being youth ministers. In Talent is Overrated, Geoff Colvin writes about “deliberate practice”. Deliberate practice is how people like Mozart and Tiger Woods achieved such great heights in the utilization of their skills. I believe that we can begin to help adults in the Church become great not just in youth ministry but in discipleship and evangelization as a whole if we can set them up for success- just like the people involved in Mozart and Tiger Woods’ lives did for them.
Fostering Accountability to Life Change in Discipleship Focused Youth Ministry starts by recognizing that we are not able to do in the 90-120 minutes a week all that needs to be done. If we are going to have ministry that truly helps youth, it will need to begin requiring more than simply attending our programming.
We must shift our mindset from figuring how to have the best program to how can we help each youth seek after the face of Christ. That is our program, and that is the magic pill.
It’s important to understand that having adults facilitate activities or discussion amongst a small group of teens doesn’t automatically make it discipleship. This is true first of all because “small group” is not synonymous with “discipleship”; just because it’s a small group doesn’t necessarily mean discipleship is happening.
With all of the variables that come with an approach as messy as Discipleship Focused Youth Ministry it, can be difficult for a parish coordinator to know how to respond. I thought it would be helpful to share just a few things I have seen a parish coordinator do well that can help support and encourage the discipleship in the parish as the new year begins.