How has your view of youth ministry changed as you age?


How did you feel about youth ministry/groups/outreach when you were young? How do you feel about it as you age?

As a young person I took for granted the many opportunities for fellowship with my peers. I was concerned about watered downness and yearning for authenticity. I hoped I would find it in adult programs instead and worried there was too much emphasis on the youth and not enough for everyone else.

Now that I am older I do not feel there is too much emphasis on youth ministry. I see the importance we all have in helping them mature and discern their vocations.


When I was young, “youth ministry” (apart from attending a Catholic school) was largely non-existent.
Even when I got to college, the Newman Center seemed more of a playground for aging hippie activists than something set up to minister to the college undergrads. Many of us Catholic undergrads went up the street to the ethnic Italian parish church instead.

I think it’s nice that youth today have so many opportunities, and I try not to be envious of it


A few years ago - it seemed strong - and noticeable !
They flocked together wherever the Pope was -
Now…it seems like it’s slowly reforming again -
as if there’s been a lull of some sorts -


I’m noticing more opportunities and that the general vibe of them has changed as the leadership has changed. It seems like the youth ministers now know that these kids crave both fellowship and authenticity. Less whishywashyness .The internet, for all its faults has been an amazing mechanism for connecting youth ministry teams so they can share what they are doing well and learn from eachother.


I’m sure everyone’s experience with this will be quite different as we are from different places and times. I look forward to reading more of your experiences.


I work with our parish youth group. Our challenge is getting the youth to attend. After Confirmation the attendance really falls off.
With the internet providing porn, the youth face a lot of challenges.
I heard on EWTN radio that 50% of our youth are spending most of their free time on social media and the internet this summer.
The retreats draw on charismatic worship and are very powerful.

I think the youth that come get a lot out of it. How do we attract the rest? This is not a new problem. Attendance was a problem when I was a youth. If I would win a big lottery I would build a first class youth center where the youth could hand out. :pray:


Don’t underestimate the importance of ministering to the youth via Internet. ChurchPop seems to me to be a great step in the right direction there. Also, just look at the number of youth who are hanging around this forum full of old people. I bet if it was a forum full of youth (and maybe a little better moderated), it would draw even more youth.

I know it’s good to get people to show up in person too, but I think sometimes older people try to shove their own priorities too much onto youth (“you have to show up in person and spend 2 hours and you can’t be looking at your phone and we’re going to lecture you about porn” etc.) rather than meeting the kids where they are and asking them what they need/ want to get out of a youth ministry. That doesn’t mean that the older person can never have a good idea or push the kids a little out of their comfort zone, but coming at it from a standpoint of “how do we get kids off social media?” is drawing a battle line right there, that doesn’t need to be there.


I am for doing whatever bring youth closer to God.


When I was growing up, all our youth ministry stuff seemed to be focused on trying to make church “hip” or “relevant” or whatever, usually with cheesy videos or presentations trying to ape what 50 year olds thought was youth culture.
I’m sure they meant well, but it turned me off and I never got into it. When I’m at church, I want to connect to something authentic and timeless, not see a light show and sing about God is my homeboy. :roll_eyes:


I am the youth minister at my parish. We have middle and high school students with a confirmation year. I get what you are saying @BoomBoomMancini. My goal isn’t to make the church hip or relevant to the youth, but get the youth to know they are relevant to the Church. I want to know what they want to know. I want to answer their questions. I want to clear up their confusions. I want them to learn how to talk about their faith and their journey.

This is a large ship I’m trying to turn, many of the catechists are used to “teaching” rather than conversing with the youth. Many of our youth don’t have the language to talk about their faith, so I’m working on helping them with that using some skills taught by Bob McCarty.

Give me a couple of more years and I’ll let you know how it’s going. Give me several more years to see if it works.


:heart::heart:That’s everything it should be!


Oh yeah, please understand I’m not disparaging youth ministry generally. Just describing how it struck me at my particular parish when I was a teen.


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