On August 7th, Barry Bonds entered into history books as baseball’s All-Time Home Run Leader when he blasted number 756 in the right center bleachers at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Whether you like Barry Bonds or think he should have an asterisk next to his name, he is Baseball’s Home Run King. For some reason, we as a culture are drawn to the home run in baseball, the slam dunk in basketball, or the long touchdown run in football and I fear that many of us in youth ministry always try to find the next Core member who will be able to hit a “home run” with the teens. We think we need to have a Core team full of All-Stars.
I read something interesting the other day. Between 1995 and 2000, exactly 200 batters hit more than 30 homers in a season. However, none of the leading home run hitters played on a World Series winning team. The teams that won the World Series played together as a team; everyone knew their role and sacrificed themselves for each other. That is what led the teams to World Series rings.
I think the same is true for us in youth ministry. For us to be a great Core team, we need to work together as team, with no one member greater than another. We must all know the role we play, and sacrifice for the good of the teens. This will allow God to use us more effectively to build His kingdom.
However, whether we want to be a great Core team or baseball team, it will take a lot of work and practice. The Major League Baseball teams begin each year with about 6 weeks of Spring Training. What do we do as a Core Team to get ready for the upcoming ministerial year?
As I have been blessed to travel around the United States, I have had the privilege of seeing many “great Core teams”. And while they are diverse from city to city, they share these common elements; they pray together, work together, and have been trained to execute their roles with great precision. Therefore, I would like to encourage every youth minister and Core team to make sure they are trained for this upcoming year. Take advantage of diocesan training, read the Core handbook, and attend a Core Member University (CMU). The CMU’s are a great way to wrap six weeks of Spring Training into a single day that will help equip us to serve the young Church.
The CMU’s are a great to train the Core – from the newest Core member to the seasoned veteran. Some of the topics covered throughout the day are:
- Discovering the Sacredness of the Mission of Youth Ministry
- What affects Young People in regards to their Faith
- What is Life Teen in a parish?
- Ministry in the Real World, Balancing your ministry and your life
- Taking your parish ministry to the next level
- Praying with Teens
- Developing Leaders
- Relational Ministry 101
- The EDGE
- Why aren’t teens at Church?
As you can see, there is a lot covered in a small amount of time. After going to the CMU, we might not be the Core member who will hit the home run, but we will be a team of adults who are committed to bringing the teens to the True King, the King of Kings and I think that will make us an “All-Star” team in the eyes of God.