Youth & Young Adult Ministry Office
Forming a Parish Team
“IT TAKES A COMMUNITY OF FAITH TO GROW A CHRISTIAN”
LEADERSHIP FOR COMPREHENSIVE YOUTH MINISTRY IN YOUR PARISH
The Goals of Ministry with and among Youth and Young Adults
in the Catholic Church
At the end of the Gospel of Matthew, we find these inspiring words:
Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee,
to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them.
17When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted.
18And Jesus came and said to them,
‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
19Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you.
And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.’*
In these words of Jesus, we find the goals of any Christian outreach, including the goals of Youth and Young Adult Ministry.
The four goals of Comprehensive Youth Ministry in the Archdiocese of St. John’s are:
- Relationship—to put young people not just in touch with, but in communion with the Person of Jesus Christ in and through the community of faith;
- Empowerment-- to share with youth and young adults the skills, attitudes and capacities that we all need in order to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today;
- Participation- to draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission and work of the Catholic faith community, and to provide opportunities through which they are invited, mentored and rewarded for their service;
- Growth- to foster and offer opportunities for the development of the physical, intellectual, social and spiritual growth of each young disciple within the community of God’s faithful through a variety of programs, events and opportunities.
Leadership for Comprehensive Youth Ministry in the Parish
Leadership for the kind of Youth and Young Adult Ministry envisioned by the goals articulated above involves four kinds of participation:
1.Youth/Young Adult Ministry Coordinating Team
2. Coordinator of Youth/Young Adult Ministry
3. Program/Event Leaders
4. Support People
1. The role of the Youth/Young Adult Ministry Coordinating Team
This team is a group of adults and youth within the parish who collaborate with the Coordinator of Youth/Young Adult Ministry to organize the comprehensive ministry with teens and young adults by:
- assessing the real needs,
- planning the desired events, programs or opportunities,
- developing a leadership system,
- identifying and calling forth the gifts and resources of the faith community, and
- connecting the ministry with the other ministries and programs of the parish (and the Archdiocese).
In short, the role of the Youth/Young Adult Ministry Coordinating Team is to:
the needs of young people in the parish.
2. The Role of the Coordinator of Youth/Young Adult Ministry
The Coordinator of Youth/Young Adult Ministry is really a facilitator, someone who guides, encourages, assists and empowers the people, programming, and resources of the parish community in a comprehensive ministry effort. Effective youth ministry programs rely on the ministry coordinator to:
- develop leaders,
- coordinate plans, and
- connect youth/young adult ministry to the overall vision and direction of the parish and its programs.
The emphasis of this position is on coordinating ministries rather than doing ministries with youth. The Coordinator of Youth Ministry is no the “Youth Minister.” In this model, the total parish—each person—is the “Youth Minister.” We are called to become “youth ministering communities.”
3. The Role of Program Leaders
Program Leaders are people-- Adults or Youth-- who animate or lead specific ministry programs. A program leader is responsible for one particular youth/young adult ministry effort. This might include:
- program development,
- implementation, and
These program leaders work with support people and contribute their time, energy, and gifts to youth/young adult ministry according to interest and abilities. The key to this is that their commitments are:
- manageable volunteer commitments.
Among these leadership positions, there are a variety of jobs, levels of commitment, and required time. There is room for all!
4. The Role of Support Staff
For every ministry program, leaders need helpers to make it a success. Different programs need different kinds of help to make them happen. Examples of support staff activities might include:
- assisting in planning an event,
- being a “runner” or “gopher”
- being a small-group discussion leader
- serving as ministers of hospitality
- offering assistance as “guardian angels” at an overnight retreat
- organizing papers and supplies at an event
- preparing or serving food
- providing transportation.
A way to support youth or young adult ministry in indirect ways—something to which all members of the community are called in various ways-- is to be an advocate and a link for youth and families.