Hard Questions Easy Answers

Catholic youth ministry is at an interesting point, I believe.

We say that we are about discipleship, which strikes me as a very hard question.

Yet, we have a profound slate of hard questions before us and, often, it seems we default to the narrisscisteasy answers of what’s worked for us before…  the significant challenge being, of course, is was it actually working for us before?  And, really, the hard questions weren’t something that has “to do with me, were they… or were they?

And because we allow that in ourselves, one wonders, do we also allow it therefore in those with whom we serve?

In the recent edition of Lifelong Faith, editor John Roberto reminded us all about Switch and Becoming a Change Leader.   (We visited these topics last September, you find the content among the postings on this page.)

Yet, I’m wondering if we (and I) have yet to really figure out how to “Motivate the Elephant” regarding change – – how do we motivate people’s emotional side towards change?

Here’s what is motivating me – – –

> The studies are saying that we have yet to do our very best work in youth ministry – – That kids and their faith are not sticking, that we have not engaged the full community into anything beyond pigeon-hole-ing youth ministry.
> If merged parishes have not yet come to your neighborhood… well, look down the road… It very well might be on it’s way.  An experienced youth minister recently shared with me that he regrets that we will lose many youth ministers in that process. I think it will be Darwinian in nature,  that the strong – those who are competent;  working, training, and leading teams; engaging the whole community –  will survive.  Those ministries that evolve towards the future will survive (yes, religious educators, I’m talking about you, but youth ministers, you are only a fatal step of the lemming march of same old, same old away from extinction.)
> Families are in real need.  Our ministry must expand beyond kid-centricity.

Yet, with many hard questions abounding, we have yet to discern what is the clarion call to action for us.  The John Paul II World Youth Day visit in Denver was “a moment for change” in Catholic Youth Ministry, at least, for us in the States.  I’ve often stated that we needed the next moment like that and needed it now.  Once, a workshop participant feared that is as likely to be church 9/11-ish moment as much as a JP2 moment.

Towards all of this, we must keep dreaming and scheming and be constant in our prayers to the Spirit for intervention.

What is motivating you towards change in youth ministry towards the future?

D. Scott Miller

D. Scott Miller is the dean of Catholic Youth Ministry bloggers which is a polite way of either saying that he is just plain old or has been blogging for a long time (since 2004.)

Scott recently married the lovely Anne and together they have five adult young people and also grandparent three delightful kids (so, maybe he is just plain old!) Scott presently serves at Saint John the Evangelist in Columbia, MD as the director of youth and young adult ministry.

He has previously served on the parish, regional, diocesan, and national levels as well as having taught within a catholic high school. He is one of the founders of RebuildMyChurch and has returned to posting regularly (keeping regular is important to old guys) at ProjectYM.


D. Scott Miller


D. Scott Miller is the dean of Catholic Youth Ministry bloggers which is a polite way of either saying that he is just plain old or has been blogging for a long time (since 2004.)

Scott recently married the lovely Anne and together they have five adult young people and also grandparent three delightful kids (so, maybe he is just plain old!) Scott presently serves at Saint John the Evangelist in Columbia, MD as the director of youth and young adult ministry.

He has previously served on the parish, regional, diocesan, and national levels as well as having taught within a catholic high school. He is one of the founders of RebuildMyChurch and has returned to posting regularly (keeping regular is important to old guys) at ProjectYM.



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