St. Monica Family & Youth Ministry – A Reflection, Part 1
Over the past week, we were visited by Jason Carter, our recently hired Director of Youth and Family Ministry. He was here to begin planning his ministry once he starts July 1. We put together a rather full agenda for him while he was here.
- Discussed his experience in this ministry, shared thoughts about his vision for our parish as well as explaining, based on his experience, what works – and doesn’t work – in youth and family ministry.
- Met with young people from our middle-school youth program.
- Met with young people from our high-school youth program.
- Participated in planning meeting with leaders from both high- and middle school youth ministry to hear the history of both programs, listen to their ideas and discuss preliminary plans for both programs.
- Attended a social where he met members of the Parish Finance and Pastoral Councils as well as Facilities Committee.
- Got together with members of the Parish Staff to discuss integration of resources and support for the ministry.
- Did a walk-around to examine all parish facilities focusing on areas available to him for the ministry.
An example of his work is reflected in the beginning of a “Youth Charter” for our Middle School Youth Ministry:
PURPOSE: We use Scripture based:
To create an environment which..
- Grows disciples,
- Is welcoming and inclusive,
- Fun and joyful,
Through programming that..
- Allows for lots of encounters with Jesus Christ,
- Is consistent and continuous,
- Is relevant to the spiritual / social lives of Middle School youth.
INITIAL ACTIVITIES/AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY:
- Gathering of all youth and parents.
- Discussion on participation of Middle School with:
- Abbey Fest
- Parish Picnic
- World Meeting of Families
- Development of youth a “Mass Ministry Team.”
- Middle School participation in a “Teaching Mass.”
- How to systematically enable a large number of parents to obtain “child protection clearances?”
“PARKING LOT IDEAS (To be discussed later):
- Development of “Small Groups.”
- Apologetics and countering the popular “New Atheism” in youth culture.
- A “Called & Gifted” or “Strength Finder’s” program for young people.
- Dealing with Cliques especially within the parish.
- Addressing drugs, alcohol, peers, sports.
In addition, Jason was instrumental in working to form a “Youth and Family Ministry Board” to support him and the Youth & Family Ministry in its mission of forming young disciples of Christ.
- To serve Christ through service to each other
- To invite parishioners to commit their talents to Youth & Family fellowship
- To include parishioners by providing clear avenues for them to employ the gifts God gave them to meet the needs of Youth & Family fellowship.
- To evangelize through fellowship
INITIAL ACTIVITIES/AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY:
- Host events to provide fellowship and evangelization such as Abby Fest, Breakfast with Santa, Family Bingo, Easter Egg Hunt and Parish Picnic.
- To provide service opportunities for families to grow as disciples of Christ including Helping Hands/Catholic Relief Services, Thanksgiving Food Drive, Christmas Giving Tree, Mission Trip, “adopting” and working with a ”Sister Parish.”
- To centralize communication to provide better access to service, fellowship, and evangelization opportunities through bi-weekly newsletters, Constant Contact, parish bulletin, social media or other means.
- To directly and personally support the work of the Director of Youth & Family Ministry to ensure his success and the success of the ministry.
Now, here’s the catch: Successful Youth Ministry “CAN NOT BE FRANCHISED!” In other words, we cannot simply say, we now have a Youth Director, I can simply drop off my kids and he does everything for me and my children. The St. Monica Youth and Family Ministry will ONLY be as successful as young people and families also own and engage the program. For example, the “Youth and Family Ministry ‘Board’” will require adult participation to fill the roles of:
- Fellowship Event Director
- Communications Director:
- Middle School Youth Programs Director:
- High School Youth Programs Director:
- Family Programs Director:
- Young Adult Liaison
- Outreach and Service Director
- Support Director (Babysitting, child clearances, scheduling parish buildings and other locations, etc…)
This doesn’t even begin to address other support roles such as chaperones for events, people willing to drive our young people to activities off campus, people willing to acquire and purchase food and supplies. Jason cannot do all of this by himself. So – PARENTS – we need you to step up and step in! After prayer and consideration, please contact Bridget ( firstname.lastname@example.org ) or Mary ( email@example.com ) if you would like further information or would like to help out.