In the same way, we can model our youth ministry after the way that Jesus modeled his ministry. In youth ministry we offer programs, resources, Life nights, methods, conferences, rallies, mission trips, etc. All of these things only take us so far with teens. The heart of effective evangelization, catechesis, and the purification of youth culture is in discipleship – mentoring teens in personal relationships. People learn the faith from the example and witness of other people.
Don’t get me wrong, Catholics pray with their body. We lie prostrate, we kneel, we sit, and we fold our hands in a posture of prayer. Sometimes we even extend our hands over our head in an open posture of worship.
All of these postures, even the hands over the head, are rooted in Scripture and the Tradition of the Church. They reflect the interior disposition of the soul and it’s receptivity to Christ. So what about hand motions? Why do I say it is not prayer?
Enthusiasm is fruit of an encounter with Christ.
It does not need to be encouraged because it develops naturally from the invitation that Christ gives all of us. As youth leaders, the challenge is to look past the emotion and help the teenager make firmly rooted decisions to follow Christ and articulate prayer to Him. We must teach them to respond to His invitation. As youth ministers, it is our job to help a teen navigate the emotions to find their individual decision to follow Christ.
Getting teens to events and in the doors of our parish is effective pre-evangelization and evangelization. However, that is often where youth ministries stop. If we were successfully converting, catechizing and purifying the lives of our young people, we’d see a lot more fruit from the thousands of American teens and millions of international teens that attend our big Catholic events. To develop saints, we have to dive deeper and do more than get them in the door.
The next three blogs that I will write, focus on developing saints and diving deeper. I will evaluate how we measure conversion, how we bring teens through conversion and finally, I will discuss the discipleship model that Christ gave us for developing the last steps of the evangelization process.
Goal for the Life Night: To encourage teens to take ownership of their faith, to realize the need for effort, and to commit to going deeper. Life Night at a Glance: This night is all about apathy and our faith. The night will impress upon the teenagers the need to take ownership of their faith by acting on it. The night will contrast the difference between saying you are a Christian and acting like a Christian. The teens will explore the different things that control them (i.e. material goods, peers,