DRE or Youth director

I would like to ask what others think of this. Do you think a parish would be wise to hire a Youth Director before they hire a DRE or DRE Administrator? The administrator of our parish is unpaid due to lack of funds but has suddenly found the funds to hire a Youth Director. It seems unfair to me but I may be wrong and wonder what you think would be the reason for this.

As a DRE I would think a DRE would be more important, but perhaps the parish has a volunteer or group of volunteers that do the job of the DRE. I don’t think that is adequate but maybe the parish can’t afford a DRE. Does the parish have a youth group already? I also think a DRE is responsible for all the faith formation of the parish, adults as well as children and teens as well. A good DRE might be able with a core of volunteers to get a youth group started.

I am going back to school for a Masters in Theology. I have been looking at possible positions I could use my degree for. DRE is one of them. Do you like your job? Would you recommend anything as far as coursework? Maybe other jobs you would like to do?

The DRE quit and one of the parishioners said he would be interrested in the job. The pastor said they didn’t have the money for a part time DRE and told the parishioner that he would be a volunteer Dre administrator and that they would pay a youth director first and then hire the volunteer if money becomes available. It seems backwards to me since in our parish the DRE was always a paid position even before office staff. I was just wondering how that works in other parishes. It may be common and I just haven’t seen it.

The problem with hiring a volunteer over a qualified director is that someone with a degree in theology is far better qualified for the position. Even the bishops are coming out saying that DRE’s should have specific qualifications. If not a degree in theology at least some sort of extensive classwork and certification in catechesis and faith formation. Anyone with any king of administrative experience can do the administrative end of faith formation, but what about training catechists, many of whom don’t know the faith well themselves. What about evaluating texts and programs? What about answering the tough theological questions.

I have an excellent assistant director. She can run the administrative end of the program better than I can. But she can’t answer the questions about the faith. She can’t train the catechists. She can’t converse with our priests on the theological issues. She could not put together a prayer service or know the ins and outs of RCIA. She can’t run a parent meeting teaching parents about the faith or run an adult course on the Old Testament or Liturgy.

I find it sad when pastors think all that is needed to run a good faith formation program is a volunteer who is willing to do it. Perhaps that is why we have two generations of adults who do not know a thing about the faith.

I know in our diocese they are discouraging pastors from hiring unqualified DREs. All DREs have to be approved by the diocese. Our state bishops have also come up with a document on qualifications for DRE’s. Only those with MA’s in theology can have the title while others can be coordinators or assistants but need to work with a degreed person for certain aspects of their programs. Youth ministers don’t have to have the degree since most of their programs are not strictly catechetical.

A DRE’s job is hard work since you are not only dealing with kids but parents, priests and diocesan faith formation people. I was a Pastoral Associate for 16 years and it wasn’t as hard as being a DRE, and I use my theological education every day in what I do. I guess if the program is small you might be able to get away with a part time DRE but we have over 1500 kids in our program plus I do RCIA and am on the Liturgy Committee.

Is it a necessity for DREs to have their Masters in Theology? Because I’m sure a lot of you know I am discerning Religious Life but if for some unfortunate reason that does not work out, I am considering being a DRE. I just want to know what other qualifications I would need.

In our diocese in order to have the official title DRE you have to have an MA. If you don’t you can be the Coordinator of Religious Education but you have the priest or call in someone with an MA to conduct certain parent meetings or adult education. A degreed person also gets paid better than the coordinator.

Seems a bit backwards to me. Our parish, we could use a good youth director, but its not an absolute necessity. Our youth ministry is a shared program with three other parishes in our area, and one of the younger priests has stepped up to be the leader. I’ve volunteered in youth ministry in the past, it was rewarding but I think its a program that can be run by volunteers in parishes that don’t have the funds. The CCD program on the other hand, as a parent, I would really be questioning why my parish could pay a youth minister but not a DRE to run the religious formation programs for the younger children that will be receiving three major sacraments before they ever are old enough for the youth group.

In some places, a DRE has a Master’s degree, a CRE has an undergraduate degree and an ARE has no degree.

D is director
C is coordinator
A is administrator

In general, it’s fine to have general expectations for a DRE, but I know of a couple local pastors who went out on a limb and hired CREs with non theology backgrounds. (one was a nurse!!) These people were well formed in the Faith and work well w/ kids and parents. Both pastors are quite happy with their choices.

As to hiring a YM over a DRE, that would be the pastor’s call. Maybe he knows something others don’t.

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