Best Tool For Evangelising Children/Teens/Young Adults?

Hi everyone,

Basically the title is the question; I want to start something in my Parish to evangelise children/teens/young adults, and am wondering if anyone has any advice on what is effective.
I’ve considered Lectio Divina, Adoration, Youth Retreats, Bible Study/Bible Camp, DTS, etc, but don’t want to start something that has been proven ineffective. The answer is probably a combination of approaches.

All ideas and suggestions welcomed, especially from priests!

Ultimately, disciples make disciples.

Who in the parish loves Jesus and wants to share that love? If a few people personally disciple a few others, then those others do the same, think of what could happen!

There is no silver bullet. Working person to person takes time.

I’d recommend starting with the parents, and teaching them how to show the children the importance of Christ in their own lives.

There’s this book called the Bible. Towards the back there’s a section called “The New Testament”. The third book in there is called “the Gospel According to John”. That is a great place to start. It begins…well…in the beginning.

When you are done that, two books later is something called “The Acts of the Apostles”. It tells the story of the early church. It’s full of intrigue and adventure. Young people will love it.

You will also need a notebook to write down their questions.

Good Job & good luck!

This is very courageous of you and the church needs people like yourself.

It takes someone with a love of God and, apparently, someone that wants to share that love.

Teens tend to leave the church to go out into “the world” and it takes someone with a lot of charisma to hold them for a bit longer, or, even better, till they really understand our faith.

An extraordinary minister of Holy Communion in my town has a son that’s about 15. He started inviting a couple of friends of the son out on Saturday evening. They’d go for pizza and then back to their house where they’d discuss the bible, christian ideals, current religious events, questions the kids had, etc.

The group grew to about 10 kids, which is very good in todays world.

We’ve tried something centered in church but it doesn’t seem to work unless a priest knows baseball, or something else, and starts a team.

I’ve been a catechist (recently “retired”) and know a LITTLE bit about the above. I can’t offer any other advice but I do wish you much good luck.

Our young people need all the help they can get. Catechism does not help too much. I always felt it should start later in life and continue into the teen years but I doubt they would keep attending the way things are now. No reinforcement from parents, the “world” calls, etc.

May God bless your good intention.

By example.
There are no short cuts.



“Evangelization begins at home.”

“Preach the Gospel always, use words when necessary.” - St. Francis of Assisi

“The greatest tool any leader has, is his or her own example.” - John Wooden

We have to start by living the Gospel.

Personally, I recommend reading the “Master Plan for Evangelization” by Billy Graham. When I served as a FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionary it was required reading for all first-years. The entire model of FOCUS is based on that book and on the model of Cru (Campus Crusade for Christ). Basically, you meet people where they’re at, develop relationships with them, then let the subject of faith come up when it comes up.

I also highly recommend Lifeteen. I linked to their blog, but the entire site is dedicated to developing youth ministry programs. They sponsor several retreats and conferences, as well as having multiple parish resources available.

Correction to the above: “The Master Plan of Evangelism” is by Dr. Robert E. Coleman, with Foreward by Billy Graham.

I believe there are so many factors which go into fostering a love of the Catholic faith in young people. Obviously, the primary factor should be parents who also have a real love of the Catholic faith who instill this love into their children through attendance of Mass and other Church events, through family prayer and devotions, and most importantly, through a good education which integrates the faith into all of the other areas of study.

However, it’s obvious that many young people today do not have this most effective way of having the faith instilled in them. I would say that since parents often still have the most influence on their children, I think the solution to modern-day indifferentism towards the faith among parents must necessarily involve them, to the extent they are willing to be involved. This may mean including them from the beginning if they are willing. If they are not willing, but still willing to let their children find their own way, then one of the first steps is to have a very solid youth group, with a solid young adult overseer which instills leadership skills into a few of the able teens. Obviously peers are a HUGE factor in teens’ lives, so I believe it is essential as well to have good peers who are willing to lead.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that fostering a strong, faith-filled community/family-type group is the way (or at least, a way) to go. Involve the parents as much as possible/as much as they are willing as well - be active in having events which parents are more than welcome and encouraged to attend and be a part of the group and their kids’ faith lives. If they won’t come, then fine - it is the kid who will suffer, but if the peer group is there for them, that will have a huge effect on their life and could equip them with the faith life they need as they go through high school and enter college and adult life. They need the good examples from both adults (parents and otherwise) and their peers, to show them all of the wonderful richness of our Catholic faith, to give them the tools they need to grow in their relationship with the Lord. Expose them as much as possible to Beauty, Truth, and Goodness.

The young people are THE future of not only our society, but more importantly, the Catholic Church. We need parents to be extra-involved with their children’s faith lives, and we need on-fire young adults who are willing to not so much take over the parents’ roles, though in some cases they will inevitably do so, but more so to give back the role of instilling faith and good examples to the parents, whose duty it is to do so in the first place.

P.S. - I don’t mean this last paragraph to mean that teens and young adults are the only ones who can offer anything to the Church. Just that since young people are so impressionable and malleable, they absolutely need the examples which they deserve but are not getting these days.

I apologize if I’m repeating something you said, I couldn’t read your whole post. It’s late and my eyes are tired…

This last point stuck out, though. I totally agree with you that young people are not getting the examples they deserve anymore. But they also are not being asked to contribute to the Church.

Something I’ve noticed in many parishes I’ve been in, is that there is a serious lack of effort on the part of leadership to pull in youth and young adults into active ministry roles. This is especially true of the 18-35 crowd (which I’m a part of).

I used to be very connected with the people who ran the various ministries in my home parish before leaving for grad school. Not once did any of those people ask me to help them with any events or projects. I was only asked by our youth minister to fill in as EMHC when her high schoolers weren’t there for 5:30 mass. I was never invited to join our parish men’s group, even though the leader is my ex-girlfriend’s father.

I’ve offered help to a couple different people. No one has taken me up on it, yet. I’ve offered to help with youth ministry, catechism classes, lector, EMHC, everything! The closest anyone has come to actively inviting me in, is one of our deacons telling me to call him when I turn 35 so he can get me into the diaconate program.

I’ve also yet to experience anyone in our leadership asking, “what can we do to keep people in your age group from leaving the Church?” I’m happy to tell them to get us more involved. Seek us out and invite us to join you for a service trip, a retreat, a prayer service, even just to be part of Mass. There is simply no reason every lector and EMHC should be under 18 and over 55. If we want people to stay, we need them to be involved. Not only do we need them involved, but they need to feel wanted. That only happens when people reach out and invite them in, and follow up by thanking them and telling them how much they are appreciated.

Wow. What great posts from
bobballen 18 and catholic Hocky 7 !!

Having been a catechist till a year ago and pretty up in years, I can attest to all that was said by both.

The church DOES NEED to invite young people( 18 - 35) to take part in activities. We’re always complaining that we don’t have enough catechists and yet listen to what Catholic Hocky 7 says.

Also, at a different parish they have a program to involve the parents of catechism kids. The first Sunday of every month the parents MUST go to adult catechism at 9:15 and then to the 11:00 a.m. Mass together with their child who attends a different classroom.

This works out pretty well but there is a lot of complaining amoungst the parents who don’t really want to be there. I think it’s still helpful since they at least hear the correct things and all can bring to God.

However, I do believe we have lost a whole generation, maybe two.

God bless you
p.s. We’ve also tried to recruit 16 year olds to go to adult catechism to become catechists but it’s been a failure. Too young! (my opinion).

I wouldn’t worry about evangelizing for say, a year. Spend time finding out who is motivated in your parish to evangelize, get them together so they know who each other is. Let that group sort out what might work best given the available resources ( here I mostly mean people, not money). Once some direction is agreed on, then make a proposal to the pastor.

I’m sorry if this note is too personal for kkollwitz, but would like to add the following.

I also was a catechist till a year ago. Am getting older and don’t have the same energy anymore and you know how much you need it!

I’m so impressed that you used the bible for your lessons. I did the same but it was not a parish program. [but OK with the priest]. I checked out the link and it sounds really good.

My diocese wanted us to make a “team” with our group. (I had 11 kids from 1st grade to Confirmation in the 7th grade - 7 catechists, that’s how it worked - different subject) which I never agreed with for reasons we can’t get into here - the team idea, I mean.

I just want to say that we don’t need teams. We need young kids that know their bible, that know some doctrine necessary to make Sac. of Rec., Communion, Confirmation and that need to get to know Jesus so they don’t abandom Him at the age of 12/13.

I feel we’ve lost a whole generation, maybe two.

Anyway, it’s a long topic. Am so happy that SOMEWHERE the bible is being used.
Thanks for the post, it made my day.

God bless you
p.s. your suggestion is very good too. Everyone needs support for what they want to do.

Hey you’re too kind! BTW I repackaged a lot of my catechism-Bible stuff into a 12-lecture adult series this summer. It’s a lot like 6th grade, but adjusted somewhat for adults. Check out this review at Patheos:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit