Over the next 5 five weeks (starting April 12th) over 1000 youth ministers, priests, parents, DREs, and other folks will be diving into a Massively Open Online Course (MOOC). I have been a part of the conversation about the MOOC from the beginning and as both a member of NACYML, and as a Director here at ProjectYM, I am incredibly excited about the event.
For too long as youth workers we have been asking well intentioned, but a number of fundamentally off base questions about what the way we support, engage, and minister to young people. Christ Jesus needs to lie at the heart of everything we do in our ministry. To often however we find ourselves pulled away from Christ centered ministry by logistics, pressures, and distractions. At the heart of this MOOC lies the central premise that the most powerful thing we can do with the Young Church is to foster a Culture of Encounter. Over the next 5 weeks you will hear from Master Teachers and other practitioners about ways that you can draw people into the presence of Christ, embody Christ in your relationships with young people, and why a culture of Encountering Christ can transform your ministry, parish, and community.
We have selected 5 videos from our past Rebuild conferences and tossed in a few questions that we think will make an excellent pairing with the Master Teach content and the Facilitated Discussions. We hope you can join the MOOC (register here if you haven’t), and that you keep up the amazing ministry work you are doing. Also if you are looking for a couple of more great videos to accompany your MOOC experiance check out what MOOC Master Teachers Bob Rice and Father Joseph have to say about Evangelization and the Joy of the Gospel. Blessings – T
Week 1: Michael Marchand | Redefining The Win
Michael breaks open the 4th Chapter of Mark’s Gospel in this presentation. Here are three sets of questions to reflect on as you prepare to foster a culture of Encounter with Jesus that are based on the reading and Michael’s conversation.
- What types of storms do you expect as you foster a culture of Encounter in your family/ministry/parish or community? How can you “go to Jesus” for help as you encounter these storms?
- Who are the young people in your community that are on “the other side”? Who are those who are least likely to have encountered Jesus? How are you currently ministering to these youth? Can you think of one person in your community who you want to intentionally seek out to help them encounter Christ?
- What are 3 specific ways you can Capitalize, Prioritize, and Go Out of Your Way to help create a culture of Encounter with Jesus in your ministry? Michael talks about how he is redefining the win in his ministry. What are 3 Measurables that you can list that will help you, and others, see that a culture of Encounter is being fostered in your community?
Week 2: Morgan Schmidt | A Ministry of Desire
Morgan has a beautiful vision of what ministry could look like. Here are a couple of reflections that that can help you break open how the communities and the desires of young people can shape how they encounter Christ.
- Morgan talks about how young people often come out of communities with low spiritual language, low spiritual expectations, and/or lacking an experience of Christ. Has this been your experience with young people? How are young people in your community forming language, expectations, and experiences of Jesus?
- What are the things the young people in your community are drawn to? What are their basic and complex desires? How do those connect with the Kingdom of Heaven? What role can your community play in helping your young people encounter Christ in the midst of their desire?
Week 3: Katie Prejean | From To to With
Katie opens up how she walks alongside the young people in her communities. This week let’s reflect on how we are present to, and accompanying our teens on their faith journey.
- Think of three young people who you have meaningful relationships with. How did you form these relationships? What were the places, experiences, conversations that created these relationships? How can you authentically replicate these processes? How can you mentor others to do the same?
- How are you inviting young people to share their faith, ideas, and plans with you? Are you creating opportunities to help young to witness to each other? Are you creating a space/time where young can approach you for real conversations about faith? Are you actively getting input from teens on where they are encountering Jesus?
Week 4: Craig Gould | Sending Them Out
Craig has Pretty straightforward message. Let’s reflect on it in two ways.
- Where does our frustration with other organizations come from? Do we have a sense of competition with these other groups? Where does that come from?
- What would our ministries look like if we viewed these other obligations as opportunities for ministry in the way Craig discusses? What if we viewed these as times in the wider community as potential moments of encounter with Jesus also? How can we equip our youth to see service, sports, school, and other non Church activities as opportunities to incarnate the gospel, and experience Jesus in unique and unexpected ways?
Week 5: Alison Blanchet (Griswold) | Centered On The Sacraments
Alison focuses in this talk about how her attention has been continually called back to Christ through the Sacraments. In this last week let’s reflect how Christ is calling us into continual encounter with Him as ministers.
- What “Hair Dryer” or “Car Crash” moments have challenged you in your ministry? Have you had moments where you were teetering on burnout of intense frustration with young people? How do you bring yourself back from the edge in these moments? Does Christ play a role in your moments of ministerial desperation?
- How has your own personal spiritual life affected your ministry? How has it helped it be successful? How has it challenged it?
- In addition to the prayer and reading you do for your ministry, what are 2-3 specific ways you know you need to grow and form yourself spiritually?