The most effective parish youth ministries maintain what I call an “unassuming youth ministry” stance. This means that they know they need to re-earn attention, re-earn loyalty, and reconnect with teens and parents as if every day is the first day they started the ministry at the parish.
Signs that We Have an Assuming Youth Ministry:
- We start feeling successful or assume we are the only choice for teens.
- We start comparing and assuming youth ministry at our parish as better than what the parish across town is offering.
- We stop going out to where the teens are and inviting them, because we already have a large enough group of teens involved.
- We stop advocating for teens with parishioners, parish and finance councils assuming that they know because we stand up and give teen announcements at the end of Mass.
- We are mostly focused on the excited teens and are not taking time to evangelize teens who aren’t the song clapping, skit doing, youth ministry t-shirt wearing crowd.
- We begin to have the attitude that most other ministries at our parish are somewhat inferior and less important than what we are doing.
- We write off teens who don’t attend as teens who are clueless and start to believe it has nothing to do with the quality or depth of what we are offering.
- We stop going to diocesan youth ministry meetings because we assume we won’t get anything out of them, rather than attending to see how we could serve or give back.
- We wear our events as badges – mission trips. youth conferences, pilgrimages and retreats somehow make us assume that large numbers on events automatically mean we are transforming teens.
- We become angry with the parents of teens for not being supportive, rather than trying to put ourself in their place and see why.
- We assume that because the teen Mass offers more contemporary music that it is somehow superior to more traditional music Masses.
- We start to assume that just because we post a Facebook invite, mail out a calendar or invitation that teens are going to show up.
- We stop being obedient to those we report to and allow things to happen with the attitude that it is easier to ask forgiveness later than to get approval upfront.
- We begin to assume that we know what is happening in the lives of the teens we serve without actually going and talking to them to find out.
- We start to believe that it is us who is making the difference and not God.
Is your parish youth ministry growing more or less assuming these days?