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How to Begin a Youth Ministry Program

A complete overview of the USCCB document "Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry" and its real-world implications, as well as a study of other programs, my own reflections, and an outline of my future youth ministry program
by

Anna Schulten

on 8 June 2016

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Transcript of How to Begin a Youth Ministry Program

NOW WHAT?
Renewing The Vision
The 8 Components of Ministry
Fundamental Ways to Minister to Youth
For the Youth
Priority is given to the youth who are most at-risk
Working to stand up for youth who are most powerless and voiceless
Empowering youth and giving them a voice in issues that affect them
Education, leadership training, skills-building, bringing them to action
For the Families
Develop poilicies that help families protect their childrens' lives
Overcome threats to their future
Speak on behalf of them on issues that matter:
Education, housing, employment, healthcare, safe neighborhoods, meaningful activities and services
The Community At Large
Hold public officials accountable
Fight against poverty, unemployment, lack of access to affordable health care, lack of decent housing, discrimination
Build society's respect for those who need protection and support
Informed participation in the political process, looking at its moral and human dimensions
Develop partnerships with leaders and concerned citizens
Build a healthy community
For the Parish
Church examines its practices to see that the youth can become part of the parish community
Support the programs that help individuals overcome their challenges
“Open your mouth in behalf of the [mute], and for the rights of the destitute; Open your mouth, decree what is just, defend the needy and the poor” (Prv 31:8-9).

Call upon those in community to use our resources and opportunities “to shape a society more respectful of the life, dignity, and rights of adolescents and their families” (27).

Recognize the sanctity of human life as a gift from God.
THE MINISTRY OF ADVOCACY
For the Youth
Help them develop a relationship with Christ and the community
Increase their knowledge of the contents of their faith
Understand their faith in relationship to life today
Group participation allows for exploring questions and sharing points of view
Explore a personal call to ministry
For the Families
Family faith is developed
Celebrates multicultural diversity
Learning about relationships and how to live out Christian life within a family community
The Community At Large
Learn about Morality and living a virtuous life
Have a positive view on relationships, and on sexuality as a gift from God
Understanding our call as Christians to a life of service
For the Parish
Learning about the history / origins of the Church and the sacraments
Learning about liturgy and how it works in a particular faith community
Experiencing Christian prayer in a parish community
Catechesis: the Church's call to go make disciples, to help people come to believe and understand their faith.

Fosters growth in three dimensions: trusting (heart), knowing / believing (mind), and doing (will).

Teaches core beliefs of the Church as presented in the CCC:
Profession of Faith
Celebration of the Christian mystery
Life in Christ
Christian prayer
THE MINISTRY OF CATECHESIS
For the Youth
Offer activities that build trust and encourage healthy relationships
Leaders should promote and model an attitude that is authentic, positive, accepting, and understanding
Friendship-making and maintaining skills
For the Families
Family relationships are strengthened
Improvement of skills such as family communications, decision making, faith sharing
Improve skills that promote healthy interaction
The Community At Large
Multicultural community building
Understanding of the call to love neighbor as self
Awareness of importance of self within community
God's reign is proclaimed through the witness to others by our relationships in community
"See how these Christians love one another?"
For the Parish
Building an environment of love, support, diversity, acceptance
Develop meaningful relationships
Atmosphere must be welcoming, comforting, safe, predictable
Youth can participate as active members in the life, activities, and ministries of the parish
"The Church is the Body of Christ. Through the Spirit and his action in the sacraments, above all the Eucharist, Christ, who once was dead and is now risen, establishes the community of believers as his own Body.

In the unity of this Body, there is a diversity of members and functions. All members are linked to one another, especially to those who are suffering, to the poor and persecuted." (CCC 805-806)

The message will only be heard if it is lived.

Ministry of Community Life is:
What we do (activity)
Who we are (identity)
How we interact (relationships)
THE MINISTRY OF COMMUNITY LIFE
For the Youth
Nurture personal prayer life of youth
Encourage youth to develop a personal prayer life, which will be strengthened by communal prayer life
Prayer should be creative and adapt to various life situations
For the Families
Foster families' traditional rituals
Expand family prayer life
Offer a variety of multicultural prayer forms and symbols to accommodate each family's way of life
Offer intergenerational and family catechesis
The Community At Large
Encourage youth to attend liturgy with their friends
Use personal connection when ministering to others in the community
Once youth understand what is going on in liturgy, they are more able to relate to it and appreciate it, and from there, can begin to share their faith with others
For the Parish
Train youth to by liturgical ministers
Have Mass specifically for the youth
Reach a variety of cultures in the parish
Incorporate youth into parish's sacramental life
Expand parish repertoire to include youth-friendly music
Hospitality
Awaken the awareness of the Spirit at work in their lives

Offer opportunities for creative prayer amidst peer groups, families, and intergenerational groups

Encourage a variety of ways to pray, from liturgy to music and song to the appropriate use of technology and multimedia
THE MINISTRY OF PRAYER AND WORSHIP
For the Youth
Teach youth to see both short-term and long-term effects of justice and service
Develop youths' skills, assets, and faith by promoting gospel values in lifestyles and choices
Increase self-esteem, self-confidence, moral reasoning abilities
For the Families
Involve families in direct service
Move from awareness to action:
Involvement: connecting personally
Exploration: understanding why
Reflection: using Catholic teachings and responding to justice issues
Action: respond through direct action
The Community At Large
Give a man a fish / teach a man to fish
Transform hearts as well as social structures
Have social consciousness
Commit to a life of justice and service rooted in Christian teachings and values
Youth learn that they can both make a difference in the world and be recognized for their contributions to community
Incorporates "doing the right thing" with "why we do what we do"
For the Parish
Church sees itself as a people whose purpose is to reach out to the poor
Church acts as a supportive community and nurtures lifelong commitment to justice and service
Follow-up service actions with spiritual connections and reflections
“The central message is simple: our faith is profoundly social. We cannot be called truly “Catholic” unless we hear and heed the Church’s call to serve those in need and work for peace and justice. We cannot call ourselves followers of Jesus unless we take up his mission of bringing “good news to the poor, liberty to captives, and new sight to the blind”." (Communities of Salt and Light, p. 3)

Faith calls us to work for justice, serve those in need, pursue peace, and defend the life, dignity, and rights of everyone
THE MINISTRY OF JUSTICE AND SERVICE
For the Youth
Develop a leadership system that invites, trains, supports, and nourishes both youth and adult leaders
Creates people of lively faith, maturity, solid theological understandings, relational and ministry skills, organizational abilities
Empowers youth by:
affirming gifts
equipping them with required skills
placing them in leadership roles
For the Families
Teaches youth to be active leaders within their own families
Help youth develop the skills they already have, though leadership formation, and learn to apply them to daily life
The Community At Large
Empowers youth in their leadership abilities to become active leaders in the community at large
Youth learn to minister to their peers (in the Church, in their schools, and in the community)
Connect their ministry in the church to other ministries in the community
For the Parish
Calls forth, affirms, and empowers youths' gifts, talents, and abilities within the parish
Using adults and teens to fulfill roles in Youth Ministry:
Ministry coordinator
Coordinating team
Program leaders
Support staff
“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings by the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit” (1 Cor 12:4-7).
THE MINISTRY OF LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
For the Youth
Invite the youth to hear about the Word Made Flesh, and to share in the good news of the reign of God
Recognize that God is already present to youth
Teach youth to see their own life experiences as experiences of God present in their lives
Youth see Christ as an answer to their hunger
For the Families
Helping families reach out and connect to each other
Help youth evangelize their families, and families to do the same
Help youth to make the message their own, learn to grow in relationship with Christ and others, and continue the conversion process
The Community At Large
Calling youth to go out and evangelize the surrounding community at large
"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”(Matthew 28: 19-20)
For the Parish
Evangelization must include these core pieces:
Witness
Outreach
Proclamation
Invitation
Conversion
Discipleship
“Evangelizing means bringing the Good News of Jesus into every human situation and seeking to convert individuals and society by the divine power of the Gospel itself. Its essence is the proclamation of salvation in Jesus Christ and the response of a person in faith, both being the work of the Spirit of God” (Go and Make Disciples, p. 2)

“There is no evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the Kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, are not proclaimed” (Evangelii Nuntiandi, no. 22)

Evangelization is the energizing core of Youth Ministry
THE MINISTRY OF EVANGELIZATION
For the Youth
Provide guidance to youth as they make important life decisions and moral choices
Develop life skills such as relationship building, nonviolent conflict resolution, planning for the future
Fosters healthy integration between spirituality and sexuality
For the Families
Caring for adolescents and their families in crisis through support, counseling, and referral to appropriate agencies
Strengthen families through lessons on communication, decision making, problem solving, reconciliation
Provide support and enrichment for families going through divorce, separation, family problems
The Community At Large
Promote positive development through positive preventative strategies
Challenging systems that are obstacles to positive development
Connect youth to support services, referral resources, self-help groups
Collaborates with wider community to aid at-risk youth through programs, services, counseling
Special attention to youth with high-risk behaviors that endanger health and well-being
For the Parish
Church acts as a compassionate presence in imitation of Jesus' care for others
Offer programs and resources for parent education, including lessons on adolescent development and family life cycles
“Ministry to these young people may be the most important way they will ever come to know and feel the love of God- through people who love them and care for them just at the point when they themselves feel least worthy and lovable.” (44)
THE MINISTRY OF PASTORAL CARE
About Renewing the Vision
The first document about Youth Ministry came out in 1976.

"A Vision of Youth Ministry"

This document was under the Dept. of Education of the US Catholic Conference.

Its vision is that "Youth Ministry is the response of the Christian community to the needs of young people, and the sharing of the unique gifts of youth with the larger community" (1)
Follow-up document came in 1997:

"Renewing the Vision: A Framework for Catholic Youth Ministry"

Emphasizes that the community needs to take responsibility for the faith lives of their youth.

"What is needed today is a Church which knows how to respond to the expectations of young people. Jesus wants to enter into dialogue with them and, through his body which is the Church, to propose the possibility of a choice which will require a commitment of their lives.” (Youth: Sent to Proclaim True Liberation, World Youth Day 1995, Philippines.)
"A Vision of Youth Ministry" (the first document) emphasized these aspects of ministry:
Ministerial and Pastoral
Ministry to young people was “integral to the life of the Church […] and essential for helping the Church realize its mission” (3).
Relational
Emmaus Story
Youth ministry founded on relationships with others and God
Goal-Centered
Offered both specific direction and open-endedness. There is no one right way to do ministry
Multi-dimensional
Different aspects of ministry will reach different groups of youth
Holistic and Developmental
Respond to adolescents' needs: developmental, social, cultural, religious
People-centered and Needs-focused
Focuses on what the individual needs, rather than generalizations
Three new challenges:
1. Changes in Society
2. New information on how adolescents develop
3. Updating the way ministry happens
(...and they thought it was bad then)
(but they haven't done it since 1997. I was 6 years old then.)
Social and Economic Problems
Consumerism
Family Life and family dynamics changing
Research and advances in sociology leading to a new understanding of why teens act the way they do
Understanding how a generation works will allow the Church to cater to the youths' spiritual needs
This document provides a framework to be filled by individual creativity
The Church needs to be relevant to its youth
Three Goals for Ministry
“These goals state what it means for the Catholic community to respond to the needs of the young people and to involve young people in sharing their unique gifts with the larger community” (9).
(all of equal importance)
Goal 1: To empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today
Goal 2: To draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission, and work of the Catholic faith community
Goal 3: To foster the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person
“This is what is needed: a Church for young people, which will know how to speak to their heart and enkindle, comfort, and inspire enthusiasm in it with the joy of the Gospel and the strength of the Eucharist; a Church which will know how to invite and to welcome the person who seeks a purpose for which to commit his whole existence; a Church which is not afraid to require much, after having given much; which does not fear asking from young people the effort of a noble and authentic adventure, such as that of the following of the Gospel (John Paul II, 1995 World Day of Prayer for Vocations).
The Challenge of that call today:
Millennials don't do commitment very well.
Christ and his Church have not changed: there is still the call to give your entire life to faith
Jesus asks for everything, but also gives everything.
Can't expect non-committal mindframe to change overnight.
Family Community: Domestic Church
Parish Community
Catholic School Community
Youth-Serving Organizational Community
The Church addresses the youth's faith in within the context of his or her life
Address objective and subjective obstacles to growth
Objective: poverty, discrimination, social injustice
Subjective: loss of a sense of sin, negative values and impacts of consumerism world
List of goals that the Church seeks for young people
My top three favorites:
Develop individual spirituality and prayer life
Cultivate youths' gifts and talents
Apply and commit faith to everyday life
All of them are important.
Also act as a guide to youths' development.
“At this stage in history, the liberating message of the Gospel of life has been put into your hands. And the mission of proclaiming it to the ends of the earth is now passing to your generation, the young Church. We pray with the whole Church that we can meet the challenge of providing “coming generations with reasons for living and hoping” (Gaudium et Spes, no. 31)."
Themes of a Comprehensive Vision
Developmentally
Appropriate
Builds on growth from childhood
Acts as a foundation for adulthood
Holds realistic expectations for growth
Family Friendly
Intergenerational
Multicultural
Community-wide Collaboration
Leadership
Flexible and Adaptable Programming
Ghanian proverb: it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a whole Church to raise a Catholic.
No one thing will work for all kids.
We always need flexibility in the way we minister,
taking into consideration the following themes and components.
Family does primary catechesis, parishes and schools are secondary
Church needs to strengthen families
Ministry to youth shouldn't take them from their families, but lead them back to their families
Incorporate youth into pre-established parish programs
Youth experience how faith works
Connect older generations back to the youth
Develop a sense of belonging
Ministry directed towards a specific race and promotes cultural awareness
Develop identity by bringing ethnicity and faith together
Accept and respect cultural diversity
Creating healthier civic lives for youth by networking with other community leaders
Share resources
Build healthy community lives and positive adolescent development
Have a wide diversity of leaders: both adults and youth
Ministry coordinator facilitates people, programming, and resources of community
Alert community to its responsibility towards youth
Structure and topic can change according to life events
(See list of programming elements)
Meet a variety of learning methods, schedules, and individual needs
Basics that also allow room for community's unique creativity
Covers a year or a season of ministry
(Order is alphabetized, not prioritized)
“How does Jesus send you? He promises neither sword, nor money, nor any of the things which the means of social communications make attractive to people today. He gives you instead grace and truth. He sends you out with the powerful message of his paschal mystery, with the truth of the cross and resurrection. That is all he gives you, and that is all you need (Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day 1996)
Part 4: A Guiding Image for Ministry with Adolescents
Previous document, "A Vision for Youth Ministry," often referred to the Emmaus story as a guide for ministry: building a relationship between youth and Jesus.
Now we are focusing on being sent into the world- Jesus sending the 12 out on their mission
Church needs youth and their faith, gifts, energy, fresh ideas
Ministry must empower youth to live out their mission in the world.
“…the future of humanity lies in the hands of those who are strong enough to provide coming generations with reasons for living and hoping” (no. 31, Gaudium et Spes).
Now my internship comes in.
Meetings with Youth Ministers
(in alphabetical order)
Sherie Cooley: St. Francis Xavier and St. Wendel Parishes
"Find people who can do it better than you."
Katie Ginter: St. John, Newburgh
Chris Hoehn: USI
Mary Ann Joyce: St. John the Apostle
Bryan Macke: St. Maria Goretti (Gibson County)
Jonna O'Bryan: Good Shepherd
Mike Roesch: Newman Center, U of E
Becky Siewers: Bosco (Jasper)
"Bring them yourself."
"Find someone who has your best interests in mind, and follow them."
Family Connections
Social / Service / Spiritual
More than "opening prayer" spirituality
The differences between high school and college
"As mean as a box of kittens."
Sherie uses a lot of different resources in building her program: NFCYM, RTV, St. Mary's Press, Ascension Press, LifeTeen, Outside the Box, Theology of the Body for Teens. Also uses resources from past youth ministry experiences.

Other fun facts / tips:
Sherie has worked in every diocese in Indiana except for Gary
When it comes to Confirmation prep, get parents off the defensive. Be flexible with them, and offer just in case materials.
You can't earn Confirmation, but you do need to learn how to best use the gift you're about to get.
Programs:
St. Francis Xavier has a religious ed program and St. Wendel has a school. The high school students mostly attend Mater Dei. She works to bring all three groups into one program.
Also does religious ed in the mornings after Mass.
team teaching for catechists works best.
Confirmation program is separate from the Religious Ed events. There are 5-6 sessions a year, and the program lasts 2 years total.
there are a variety of different speakers and topics that are presented. The Confirmation curriculum hosts a variety of speakers and topics, but they all tie back into the basic outline of the CCC.
Renewing the Vision
Currently working on building community and creating an identity within the different groups of teens
Follow the RTV outline of having a core team underneath a general youth ministry coordinator
Does a lot of catechesis with religious ed and Confirmation programs
Makes use of the connection to other parishes within the deanery and the diocese
Katie took a group of kids to one of the CAJE meetings, and ever since, the CAJE people wanted her to keep bringing the kids to every single meeting. Katie makes a very good point when she wanted to say, "Bring them yourself." Both Katie and I agree, as do most youth ministers, that it is not just the ministers' job to get the teens involved. Other adults from the parish and the community are equally able to reach out to teens, but are often hesitant to do so.
This goes to show that although Millennials are very non-committal, so are all the other adults in the parish. There needs to be a shift in mindset that ministry is not just the youth minister's job. It's everybody's job.
Programs:
Tuesdays for Teens: meet at the Donut Bank and discuss Sunday's readings and how they apply to life.
Regular Sunday night meetings: discussion of real life issues. Teens need depth in their programs because they are dealing with real life issues on a daily basis.
Other bigger trips as they come up
Works with teens in RCIA
Confirmation retreats too, but she works less on the catechesis end.
Coraggio: an event for people ages 18-35. Includes adoration, a speaker, and food. Faith, education, community.
Renewing the Vision:
Kids lead Night Prayer on Sunday nights after the event- Leadership and Prayer/Worship
Building community- best to do this at a diocesan level as well as a parish level
Some structure similar to RTV outline.
includes a core team
building a framework as opposed to building a program based around the personality of the youth minister
Catechesis and evangelization on Tuesdays for Teens at Donut Bank
The Catholic Church is very much like a family: it's good, but it does have a lot of dysfunction.
When working for the Church, you have to be all in or nothing in.
if you work for the diocese, you have to answer for the diocese, whether you agree with the Church teachings or not.
you become the face of the Church.
Programs:
Mass
Catholic ministry for the campus
Wednesday night gatherings:
20 minutes of meeting / business
20 minutes of video from Catholicism series
20 minutes discussion
Has a ministry team: officers: President, Publicity, Hospitality, Liturgy, Service, Freshman Outreach
Working on a prayer book for the diocese
Renewing the Vision:
offers a variety of leadership opportunities in the ministry team and other programs
Catechesis and community on Wednesday nights
Prayer and Worship- providing Mass for Catholic students on campus
Evangelization (Catholics on a public college campus)
Pastoral care: Catholic presence to those students who are away from home
Due to the size of St. John the Apostle (just over 100 families), it is impossible to ignore the family aspect that comes with it. Mary Ann does a lot of family-oriented activities within her youth group and the religious education group.

St. John the Apostle is not only unique in its size, but also in its opportunity for multiculturalism: the parish serves a predominantly African American community.
Programs:
Working on building a Youth Ministry program with the Youth Activities Committee
Does family-friendly activities with youth group: rollerskating, Holiday World trip after VBS, etc
Visits the Evansville African American Museum
Religious ed has 20 kids in the entire program, will be beginning Theology of the Body in the fall
Confirmation teens in conjunction with St. Ben's program
Source + Summit, Youth Rally
Renewing the Vision:
St. John the Apostle does an excellent job with family ministry, something that is not as strongly emphasized in some other parishes
Religious Ed program offers catechesis
Community life comes naturally with the size of the parish
Also, St. John the Apostle does a great job with expressing the multiculturalism in the parish, giving the youth a chance to express themselves uniquely through their both their culture and their faith.
Bryan always tries to plan the programs for the youth in connection to the social, the service, and the spiritual. He emphasizes a well-rounded set of programs that offer things for everyone to participate in, and to expose them to the world around them... both its challenges and its joys.

Bryan also pointed out that it's good to get kids out in the world, serving and building a larger community around the diocese. In this way, the youths' faith becomes more of a reality when they see others living out the same beliefs.
Programs:
Shantytown: teens built cardboard houses and slept in them overnight, also went to a homeless shelter and interacted with the people there
After-School Hangouts: teens gather in the youth room to play games, do homework, enjoy each others' company
Youth Masses on a quarterly basis
Raking leaves for the elderly in the fall
Food Fast (Catholic Relief Service's version of the 30-Hour Famine): did games / social events, an hour of adoration, visited elderly in the nursing home.
Renewing the Vision:
Advocacy / Justice and Service through Shantytown and Food Fast: not only helping temporal needs but understanding the roots of the problems
Community Life emphasized at after-school hangouts
Prayer and Worship combined with Leadership Development as youth take part in Youth Masses
Service and community when youth rake leaves of the home bound in the fall.
Jonna emphasizes that the youth need more than opening prayer / closing prayer spirituality in their lives. They are dealing with real life and real problems, and they need a strong anchor in their faith to hold them down when life is unpredictable.

Jonna also said that she tries to do a lot of service projects for the youth, because they get more time to socialize with each other on their own. She likes the Service / Social / Spiritual model but she adds two more points to it: Fundraising and Publicity.
Programs:
No weekly events but about 4-5 general events per month
My favorite: Cemetery event for All Souls during Halloween season.
Getting the kids more involved in the liturgy and fulfilling ministries during weekend Mass
Give high schoolers an opportunity to lead prayer and mentor middle school students
Offers technology classes for older generations
Mock car crash where teens have to figure out what happened
Teens put on a Reality TV mock show
Encourages kids to plan the events. She provides a loose structure and they can take it in any direction.
Renewing the Vision
Leadership Development in various programs, as she has the youth help plan them
Prayer and Worship- youth are encouraged to take part in the liturgy
Keeping the older generation connected to the youth helps cultivate community life
Offers events that connect faith to real life- mock car crash, reality TV. This can be both catechesis and evangelization
variety of service-oriented programs
College campus ministry has its similarities to youth ministry, but it is also very different. One of the biggest differences is the group of people that show up. In high school, parents can force their teens to go to youth group. In college, the group is self-selective, because no one is forced to go.

College ministry has less fun-and-games time due to the age and mindframe of those attending. In college ministry, there can be more discussion on topics of the faith related to life, as the students are in the process of discerning their major and their future as a whole.
Programs:
The Newman Center offers Mass two times a week in the chapel they share with the other religious groups on campus
Monday night Dinner and Discussion (or sometimes it is a service event instead) includes dinner prepared by a student and a speaker or discussion on a faith topic. This attracts some 20 college students a night, and not all of them are Catholic
Also offers sacramental prep for those who have not been confirmed, and for those who will be getting married in college.
Renewing the Vision:
Catechesis for those who will be receiving a sacrament, also some catechesis happens at the Monday night Dinner and Discussion
Dinner and Discussion also includes community building, and sometimes also will include a service opportunity. Also, evangelization happens when non-Catholic students participate
Leadership development and Pastoral care are both pretty prevalent on the college campus
Prayer and Worship at Mass, also looking at doing Liturgy of the Hours together.
The above quote relating the "mean-ness" of Becky to a box of kittens is pretty accurate. Becky has had a variety of experience in ministry throughout her life, from working with 3rd grade religious ed, to Camp Ondessonk, to youth ministry here at Bosco for the past seven years in Jasper. Although she is sort of a mother to her youth, she teaches them respect, discipline, and boundaries at the beginning so her kitten-like meanness can be reserved for others who dare incur her wrath.
Programs:
One of Bosco's biggest programs is their summer attendance to Catholic Heart Work Camp. It includes both the Catholic connection and the ease for its attendents: everything is organized for them
Bookbuster is a program where the youth select a book of the Bible to study over the course of the semester
Always attends diocesan events like Youth Rally, Source + Summit, and Pilgrimage for Life
Since so many youth are heavily involved in band, sports, and other school activities, it is always a priority to plan around them.
Always tries to connect back to spiritual aspects
Renewing the Vision:
Catechesis is emphasized, especially for the youth attending Bookbuster
Advocacy and Service are both connected to Catholic Heart Work Camp
Although there are four parishes that feed into the Bosco youth group, there is a strong sense of community and identity for the youth in the program
Bosco is also a presence in the Jasper community
Youth are also encouraged and given opportunities to take on leadership roles within Bosco events or diocesan ones
How to Start a
Youth Ministry Program
Direct Ministry
Youth Minister
Core Team
Core Team
Core Team
Core Team
Indirect Ministry
Youth Commission
Youth
Youth
Youth
Youth
Youth
Youth
Knows the theology
Manages all other circles
Acts as the go-to person as needed

An individual can only have 8 strong relationships and 12 weak relationships at any one time. This one youth minister can only minister to a maximum of 20 youth. That's where the core team comes in.
Each member of the core team can also have 8 strong relationships and 12 weak ones. With a core team of this size, the youth ministry program has the potential to personally reach 180 youth.

Looking for 10-12 adults, ages 25-35 years old
They are NOT parents of the youth- we will get to that.
The core team meets with the youth minister and plans several events at once
The assignments can be delegated to the core team- food, game, talks, publicity, etc
If youth minister has to leave, core team can continue ministry until a new youth minister arrives
Youth and Leader should be friends, but not peers
The adult needs to be an adult, not a high schooler
Those in direct ministry reach out to youth as they run into them in everyday life- put in 10 hours of ministry a week by seeing youth at games, movies, WalMart.
Direct ministers take part in planning and leading events, but also just build community with the youth and get to know them personally.
The Youth Commission is a group of parents / volunteers that are interested in ministry but are not a part of the Core Team.
Parents belong here, and this is why: parents are very helpful, so we want to keep them around, but it is sometimes easier for youth to open up to someone they feel they can trust, who are also not directly connected to other teens in the group.
Every church is different. This suggestion must be evaluated on a parish-by-parish basis, because there are always exceptions.
Those in indirect ministry help out in different but equally necessary ways: help set up, prepare and serve food, volunteer as chaperones as needed, be manual labor, act as resources for various events or projects
Young Adult (ministering to high school students)
High school student (being ministered to by the young adult, ministering to middle school students)
Middle school student (being ministered to by the high school students)
Planning Events
Summertime is planning time.
Do a few big events, but don't go crazy. Everybody's on vacation anyway.
Always take into consideration the schools' programs / events when making up a calendar.
Meet with the principals of the schools, see if there is any way to collaborate to benefit the youth
Try to keep the kids flowing from one program to the next without any big breaks- youth can connect to community best through the programs offered
Dead Deer Philosophy
Have some youth nights, but you don't have to have one every single night. Intermingle service projects throughout the semester instead.
Edit the old programs that are already in existence.
It's better to keep some old things and work the new things in gradually instead of everything at once.
Quality youth ministry leads to a vibrant parish
The youth are a very important part of the present Church, not the future one
Involve the youth today! Teens shouldn't have to prove worth by revenue
Give youth the power to change the parish. They bring energy and vitality to the Church
This scares some people: breaks the status quo.
Keep track of the time you put into work. Don't do everything at once.
Make time for yourself.
Share the workload- that's where the core team comes in. Avoid burnout.
Legalistics
Permission slips:
When in doubt, just do it.
Don't need a permission slip if you're staying on parish property and not doing anything dangerous
You may do one yearly form if you're doing a monthly service / activity, but you must list ALL dates and each specific event
If it's reasonable, meet at the location
If someone drives a private vehicle, the youth are covered under that individual's insurance
There's paperwork to be done on that
No high school students driving other high school students during events.
Facebook and other social media:
Diocese is making a social media policy
Don't tag people in photos, and only post group photos on ministry facebook pages
Don't invite youth to be friends on facebook- the youth should "friend" first
Parents MUST know if youth minister is in contact with teen- facebook, texting, etc.
Have the parents sign paperwork
The Basement
Show kids we care about them
Don't stick them in a moldy dirty basement away from the community and then try to tell them how important they are
Get the parish involved in the youth ministry program, have a nicer place for them
Find connections to the right donations
Also, show teens we care by going to their events, games, shows, etc.
Make a budget- include everything you need, also include what the youth have to pay for events
Most of the money to fund events comes out of the youths' pockets. Shame.
Generations, Etc.
Generational Issues
Baby Boomers (1946-1964): independent, goal-oriented, work-centered, taking ownership of their lifestyles
Generation X (1965-1980s): individualistic,
Millennials (1980s-2000s): teamwork, achievers, like a good challenge, open and flexible, we don't do negativity, can have a negative self-esteem / self-image
Our spirituality comes from our parents. So, strengthen the spirituality of the parents and it will rub off on the kids
Millennial Parents = Stealth Parents.
They are easily reached due to cell phones, so they can hover around the edges of their teens' lives. If they are needed, they can drop in, fix the problem, and leave again.
Working with Millennials
We don't do commitment. You're going to have to work around that
Always provide quality ministry- don't do one big and awesome program and then let the rest of the programs be weak.
Don't give us anything unorganized or shallow.
Always be authentic!
Don't just preach the faith; live it, and show us that faith is applicable and practical for our daily lives
It's not the youth minister's job to reach everybody. Offer a personal invitation to events, get to know the youth on a personal level, and you will have much more success than a note in the bulletin.
Don't shut us down. Build us up!
Youth Ministry and Religious Education both accomplish the same goal, but approach it in two entirely different ways. DREs and Youth Ministers should work together in planning similar curriculum and topics, so the youth can have a more holistic view of the Church and its teaching.
“Young pilgrims, Christ needs you to enlighten the world and to show it the “path of life” (Ps 16:11). "The challenge is to make the Church’s yes to life concrete and effective. The struggle will be long, and it needs each one of you. Place your intelligence, your talents, your enthusiasm, your compassion, and your fortitude at the service of life.” (JPII, World Youth Day, 1993)
“…the future of humanity lies in the hands of those who are strong enough to provide coming generations with reasons for living and hoping” (no. 31, Gaudium et Spes).
Anna Bittner's Youth Ministry Program
General Ideas
Yearly Events
Weekly or Quarterly Events
Build Core team as outlined by Renewing the Vision
Get youth involved in pre-existing programs
Meet with area principals and other leaders that youth know
Create a youth group identity
Work in fundraising and publicity to get parish involved
Create / update a youth website, it will have all the permission forms and a calendar of events
Look into having Youth Mass once a month.
Offer a workshop / seminar for those interested in helping with the youth program, presenting my goals for us
Offer technology classes for older generations
Prepare a budget
Diocesan events such as:
Youth Rally
Source + Summit
Teens Encounter Christ
Pilgrimage for Life
Diocesan Youth Leadership Team
NCYC
Summer:
Holiday World on Server's Day
Catholic Heart Work Camp
Bibles in Backpacks
Music Ministry Alive
Fall:
Liturgical Ministry Fest
Color Me Beautiful
Raking leaves for elderly
Cemetery All Souls Event
Winter:
(diocesan events aplenty)
Social Justice issue
Homeless shelter / food pantry
Spring:
Food Fast for HS
Shantytown for MS
Weekly:
Bookbuster

Monthly:
Family Event- after Youth Mass, have games, food, contests, a lesson, info on upcoming events
Quarterly:
Music night or Movie night plus discussion
Parish Youth Leadership team: meets for an hour before Youth Commission meetings, presents ideas on new programs to adults
Other:
Have youth lead prayer
Incorporate some kind of multi-cultural event / dinner according to cultural traditions of parishioners
Have a "Youth Hour" of adoration once a month
Other fun things I did while at my internship:
Designed logos and fliers out the wazoo (except for the part where I don't know what a wazoo is)
Wrote articles for the Message
This ridiculously long powerpoint
Worked on PFL, Confirmation Spectacular and Youth Rally
Coordinated the DYLT
Met with various youth ministers in the diocese
Met with the Diocesan Directors
Top 10 Things I Learned While On My Internship:
10. Generations are all kinds of different. That's why I show up at my boss's office about 3-4 times a day just to say hello and check in.
9. Food in the copy room never lasts very long.
8. There is only one yardstick in the entirety of the Catholic Center.
7. There is always a reason for a party.
6. I still don't know how to work the phone.
5. Steve always wants a nap after lunch. Either that, or he just plain wants to go home. Never fails.
4. Them Catholic Foundation peoples shore do know how to have a good time. This is a surprisingly good place to turn 21.
3:00 is mid-afternoon orange snack time. Speaking of which, look at the time!
2. The Catholic Center people are the best co-workers ever, and I would love to come back here someday. Steve, when are you retiring?
1. Lunch is THE most important time of the day.That's why there's an alarm for it on Fridays.
The End!
Thanks, everybody, for a wonderful summer!
The first thing I would do is create a mission statement. But I think it's best to wait to do that until I have a parish to work within.

It is impossible to really build a complete and effective youth ministry program without first knowing the charism of the parish. That being said, this is the most specific program I can build without having a better idea of the youth and parish I'll be serving.
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