Youth Ministry 101

“What is needed today is a Church which knows how to respond to the expectations of young people. Jesus wants us 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. As Jesus with the disciples, so the Church must become the traveling companion of young people…”

(Pope John Paul II, World Youth Day 1995, Philippines)

The Church must become the traveling companion of young people – and that’s what we mean by youth ministry. If indeed, “it takes an entire village to raise a child,” then it certainly takes an entire Church to journey with young  people as they grapple with the Good News and respond in discipleship.

YI4C Ministries… it’s about discipleship

The first goal of YI4C ministries is “to empower young people to live as disciples of Jesus Christ in our world today.” Young people are “searching for a noble adventure”, a compelling and challenging vision of life, and a cause worth their commitment. They hunger to hear the Good News that finds response in discipleship. As their  companions on this spiritual journey, some of the ways the Church fulfills this first goal of youth ministry is by…

  • Proclaiming the Good News of Jesus through witness and word to young people.
  • Enabling young people to live as disciples through their involvement in service, ministry, and leadership opportunities.
  • Providing young people the faith skills for discipleship.

YI4C Ministries… it’s about connection

The second goal is “to draw young people to responsible participation in the life, mission, and work of the faith community.” Young people have a hunger for connection, to be in relationship, and to really belong. Family, peers,schools, youth serving organizations, and Church are primary connections for young people. Some of the ways the Church fulfills this second goal of youth ministry is by…

  • Being a “youth friendly” community that welcomes young people, values their participation, and calls forth their gifts.
  • Creating opportunities for young people to enter into healthy relationships of trust and respect with their peers and with adults.

YI4C Ministries… it’s about gifts and growth

The third goal of YI4C ministries is “to foster the total personal and spiritual growth of each young person.  Adolescence is an important time for mental, spiritual, social and physical growth. Their experiences and relationships greatly impact their healthy and positive development. The Church strives to surround people with the best possible external scaffolds – networks of caring relationships of family, school, peers, and other adults – while young people are developing their internal psychological and spiritual backbone – their values, life skills, commitments, and moral compass. The YI4C Ministry fulfills this third goal of youth ministry by…

  • Enabling young people to develop a personal relationship with Jesus.
  • Providing opportunities to experience and express caring, service, and compassion for others.

YI4C Ministries…happens comprehensively

YI4C is more than programs and events. It 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.” To be most effective, this is a ministry, to, with, for, and by young people that involves their families, church, and the larger community. At the heart of the ministry with young people is the presence of caring, supportive relationships where youth experience the Good News in the flesh.

YI4C Ministries…it takes an entire Church

“This is what is needed: a Church for young people, which will know how to speak to their heart and rekindle, comfort, and inspire enthusiasm in it with the joy of the Gospel; a Church which will know how to invite and 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 following the Gospel.

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