Young Life Teen Group


My sixteen year old daughter wants to be a part of a Young Life group that meets once a week at a local coffee house. We are a very small parish with no active youth group. I am very hesitant as she is not very knowledgeable about her Catholic Faith.



As a teen, she is questioning. If she is not very well educated in her faith and if she cannot hold her own with Scriptural Apologetics, do not send her to a non-Catholic youth group.

Check with your Diocese to find a good Catholic group near you.


As a convert I am well aware of the biases against Catholics and I have told her that it is more than a social group with God in common (as she thinks it is).

Of course, “all of her friends” are going an she doesn’t want to be excluded from the fun.

My husband and I will hold firm to our decision that she not attend.

Thank you for your input.


Get her copies of Amy Welborn “Prove it” series. She goes through lot of apologetics about the Church in a way made for teens.

Are there any other teens at all in your parish? Would your daughter be willing to start up a group within the parish? Also look to see what any nearby parishes offer or what your diocese has for teens. She may be able to join up with one of those groups or combine some activities with other kids from your parish.

I definately wouldn’t allow her to join this group, but I would allow an occasional outing to the coffee shop with her personal friends (and not the entire other group). She’s probably just attracted to the idea of sitting there like adults chatting! :stuck_out_tongue:


My advice would be to meet with the Young Life director in your area and find out what exactly they do in your particular area.

I am a Young Life leader in the area where I go to college, and I am the only Catholic leader in my area. (There aren’t many Catholics involved specifically in evangelization in that particular area, so this was the best place for me this past year. See the thread I posted below for more info on that…)

What I can tell you is that you are likely to find that the majority of people involved in Young Life are Protestant. In my personal experience (you may experience something completely different) I have never seen any YL leader criticize or put up any particular denomination. In fact, it is a part of YL’s policy to avoid endorsing any particular denomination–leaders are told to encourage their kids to attend whatever church their family belongs to. (The only time someone will recommend a church/denomination is if they know that a kid comes from a non-religious family.)

I think it should also be noted that YL does not delve into extremely specific theology because of their targeted demographic. YL looks to give every teen in the world an opportunity to hear the Gospels and to meet Jesus. (YL is a growing international organization.)
So, as you can imagine, YL tends to evangelize teens who have little/no experience with Christianity. Leaders encourage their kids to bring friends along.

I’m also going to direct you to this thread for a little bit more insight:

I hope this helps a little! (It’s late and I’m not entirely coherent.) I’ll definitely be checking back on this thread. Feel free to pm me if you feel the need to!


I went to Young Life as a teen and it was great. Do you know what Young Life is? Have you learned about it?

It is a nondenominational Christian group and that’s all. We sang songs, we watched movies, we said a prayer or two, etc. I think it’s a great place for a teen. They don’t push any one type of religion on anyone. Like I said, it’s a CHRISTIAN group and that is all. THey don’t talk about specific parts of any religion, they just uphold morals and encourage a relationship with God.

What is good about this group is that she will be with like minded friends. These will be friends who she can lean on at school when she needs it. There will be times she will have to stand up for her morals and to stand up for what she believes in and it is a lot of help to have friends around who have the same morals as you who will stand by your side. I think it’s a great program. Young Life is a great place to meet the folks in her school who do have like minded beliefs.

I went to the college version of Young Life when I went to college too. I can’t remember what it’s called right now but I wouldn’t trade any of those memories and experiences for anything.

edited to add: I wrote my post before I read musicality’s post. I am amazed that we both basically said the same thing but from two different points of view. :slight_smile:



Thank you for educating me on what Young Life is all about. I had no idea.

Just for peace of mind, though, I’m going to meet the leader.

Your responses have been so helpful.


Young Life is non-denominational and has been from the outset (1941). Therefore, we are not affiliated with any denomination, nor do we encourage one Christian denomination over another. Our staff and volunteers affiliate with a wide range of Christian denominations — both Protestant and Catholic.

As someone who was involved as a teeen and now as an adult, I highly recommend Young Life! It is an extra tool in the tool box for parents wanting their kids to navigate the teen years and have a relationship with Christ.

Here is the story of 4 Catholic youth:

Three went to Catholic K-8:

P...strong Catholic wanted to stay the rightous path.YL provided opportunities to have fun in faith of Christ and deepen existing Faith

K...Catholic, Mass each week, but troubled and contemplated meaning of life and depression. Contemplated suicide. YL Leaders provided mentors and realization that Christ was what she yearned for to complete emptiness felt.

C...Catholic, Catholic HS, wanted to have fun and be where the action is. Problem was the action was full of temptation and trouble. Started going to YL and found you could have clean fun in Christian Life with Christ.

M...Catholic went to Public School, never really got what it was all for beyond CCD and confirmation. YL introduced him to a deeper relationship with Christ.

BTW, all 4 were sent back to their Catholic Church to be feed and for doctrine...and all 4 are more devoted to their Church because of YL.

That was just a glimpse of what I've seen. And if you have any questions about conflicts ask the Young Life Area Director...I did.:)


I don't know. I think she'll get fed some bad doctrine. I think you are asking for trouble. As a teen, I went to a group when I was poor catechized, and it really muddled my thinking.

Isn't there any Catholic groups/clubs--maybe at another parish? I'd drive quite a bit to find a good Catholic group for my kids if I had to.

Could you start a group in your home--maybe with another parent? or, in your parish? I know it's intimidating, but if you had only five kids that she likes, I think it could be a really good experience.

You might ask your daughter what she likes about the group and try to replicate it with a Catholic group.

Or, could you pair her up with a very knowledgeble and brave Catholic friend who will speak up if there is bad doctrine?

Or, go with her?

I think it's a bad idea. :( If you read their statement of faith, it says:

Article I
The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, being given by divine inspiration, are the Word of God, the final and supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct


to which a Catholic could not ascribe.


The one problem I’d have with sending any children of my own (speaking as someone who just got married and has no children yet) to a “non-denominational” youth group is that most youth groups of that nature end up implying that the Catholic Church is not the One, True Church. This is because most non-denominational groups practice C.S. Lewis’ “mere Christianity”, and the message is this: “Let’s just focus on the basics of Christianity, and not worry about all that extra stuff.” This is a problem for Catholics, because all of that extra stuff – the Eucharist, the intercession of the saints, confession, etc. – is vital for our faith. It cannot be separated from our faith in Jesus Christ, because it forms one, integrated whole.


And I know someone who was drawn to the Catholic Church because of Ann Rice’s vampire novels. That does not mean we should hand out vampire books to all the teens.

Catholics need CATHOLIC programs.


:thumbsup:great posts


I used to be a Young Life leader. I'd encourage you to take a look at my post from another thread here:


[quote="KatyBob, post:1, topic:161956"]
My sixteen year old daughter wants to be a part of a Young Life group that meets once a week at a local coffee house. We are a very small parish with no active youth group. I am very hesitant as she is not very knowledgeable about her Catholic Faith.



I was a Young Life leader years ago, when I was Catholic. Never once did anyone pressure me or challenge me on my Catholic faith. They allow professing Catholics to be leaders. It does not have a strong theological focus. They love the Lord, sing some praise and worship songs, and have a talk usually focusing on making good Christian choices and being holy in an unholy world. I'm not even sure if there is a typical evangelical "altar call" at those meetings. The really great part is that they usually have a "campus presence." The leaders get permission to have lunch with the teenagers and can provide a strong support system.

Why is she not very knowledgeable about her Catholic faith?

2226 Education in the faith by the parents should begin in the child's earliest years. This already happens when family members help one another to grow in faith by the witness of a Christian life in keeping with the Gospel. Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God.35 The parish is the Eucharistic community and the heart of the liturgical life of Christian families; it is a privileged place for the catechesis of children and parents.

2223 Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children.


YES. That is the ideal. But, in the absence of them…


Then you step up and start one!


Which I do and have done as long as I’ve been Catholic. Sorry, but my teenage boys have had enough of ME.
:okpeople: What we need is HOLY, CATHOLIC, and MARY LOVING MEN to STEP UP.


[quote="graceandglory, post:17, topic:161956"]
Which I do and have done as long as I've been Catholic. Sorry, but my teenage boys have had enough of ME.

:okpeople: What we need is HOLY, CATHOLIC, and MARY LOVING MEN to STEP UP.




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